Owner of well-known Kansas City barbecue restaurant dies
KANSAS CITY, Mo | L.C. Richardson, the owner and namesake of one of Kansas City's most well-known barbecue joints, has died.
Richardson opened LC's Bar-B-Q near the Truman Sports Complex in 1986. It became a favorite stop for fans on their way to Kansas City Royals and Chiefs games, and for barbecue fans across the region.
Richardson's granddaughter, Tausha Hammett, announced on the restaurant's website that he died this week. He was 86. A cause of death was not given.
"He's just one of our legends that's going to be sorely missed," said Ardie Davis, a barbecue contest judge and the author of several books on barbecuing and grilling.
The restaurant announced that a public viewing will be held for Richardson on Saturday, Feb. 27, from 4 to 7 p.m. at Watkins Heritage Chapel. The family plans a private funeral service in Jackson, Mississippi, at a later date.
Richardson grew up in Mississippi and moved to Kansas City in 1953. He worked in restaurants, eventually becoming executive chef for Farmland Industries from 1973 to 1986. He took early retirement to open his own restaurant, The Kansas City Star reported.
Fat Boys member, radio host Prince Markie Dee dies at 52
NEW YORK | Prince Markie Dee, a member of the Fat Boys hip-hop trio who later formed his own band and became a well-known radio host, has died. He was 52.
His death was announced Thursday by the SiriusXM station Rock The Bells, which did not provide a cause of death.
Born Mark Morales in Brooklyn, Prince Markie Dee was a prolific songwriter and founding member of the Fat Boys, a group known for beatboxing that released several popular albums in the 1980s such as the platinum record "Crushin.'"
Their 1984 debut album, "Fat Boys," went gold, their next two albums sold millions of copies and they were featured in the films "Krush Groove" and "Disorderlies."
Morales, Darren Robinson and Damon "Kool Rockski" Wimbley were known as Disco 3 when they won a rap contest in Brooklyn in 1984. That win led to a record deal and a European tour during which they generated high room-service bills that earned the ire of their promoter, who started calling them "fat boys," a 1995 obituary for Robinson noted.
Morales formed his own band in 1993, Prince Markie Dee & The Soul Convention, which released the R&B hit "Swing My Way."
"Prince Markie Dee was more than a rapper," the manager of the Fat Boys, Louis Gregory, wrote on Twitter. "He was one of my very best and closest friends. My heart breaks today because I lost a brother."
Morales also worked with several other pop stars, including Destiny's Child and Jennifer Lopez, and as a radio host in Miami.
Serbian pop singer popular in Balkans dies of coronavirus
BELGRADE, Serbia | Djordje Balasevic, a Serbian singer who remained widely popular throughout the former Yugoslavia after the wars of the 1990s, has died after contracting the new coronavirus, state television reported Friday. He was 67.
Balasevic was admitted to a hospital in the northern Serbian city of Novi Sad three days ago suffering from pneumonia that appeared to be a complication of COVID-19. State broadcaster RTS said he died at the hospital on Friday.
Balasevic launched his career in the late 1970s and early 1980s, first performing in bands before establishing a solo following with his soft pop music and witty lyrics.
When Yugoslavia disintegrated in ethnic warfare in the early 1990s, Balasevic openly opposed the nationalism that fueled the conflicts. Because of his positions, mainstream media in Serbia shunned Balasevic during the war era.
But he remained well-liked throughout the ethnically divided Balkans region after the wars, filling up concert halls in all the countries that emerged from the six former Yugoslav republics. His performances were famous for his on-stage comments on various topics.
Media in Croatia and Bosnia promptly carried the news of Balasevic's death, which also was widely shared on social networks.
Bosnia's Klix news portal described Balasevic as a "legendary" performer whose songs could "inspire deepest emotion in an audience." Croatia's state HRT television evoked Balasevic's "utterly antiwar and pacifist position that is present in many songs, concert speeches and interviews."
Balasevic is survived by his wife and three children. Funeral arrangements were not immediately known.
Arturo Di Modica, sculptor of Wall Street bull, dies at 80
ROME | The artist who sculpted Charging Bull, the bronze statue in New York which became an iconic symbol of Wall Street, has died in his hometown in Sicily at age 80.
Arturo Di Modica died at his home in Vittoria on Friday evening, the town said in a statement on Saturday. Di Modica had been ill for some time, it said.
The sculptor lived in New York for more than 40 years in New York. He arrived in 1973 and opened an art studio in the city's SoHo neighborhood. With the help of a truck and crane, Di Modica installed the bronze bull sculpture in New York's financial district without permission on the night of Dec. 16, 1989.
The artist reportedly spent $350,000 of his own money to create the 3.5-ton bronze beast that came to symbolize the resilience of the U.S. economy after a 1987 stock market crash.
"It was a period of crisis. The New York Stock Exchange lost in one night more than 20%, and so many people were plunged into the blackest of depressions," Rome daily La Repubblica quoted Di Modica as saying in an interview earlier this month.
He said he conceived of the bull sculpture as "a joke, a provocation. Instead, it became a cursedly serious thing," destined to be one of New York's more visited monuments.
In the La Repubblica interview, Di Modica detailed how he, some 40 friends, a crane and a truck carried out a lightning-swift operation to plant the statue near Bowling Green park, a short stroll from the headquarters of the New York Stock Exchange, without official authorization.
"Five minutes. The operations shouldn't have lasted more. Otherwise, we'd risk big," he recalled. "After a couple of scouting trips, I had discovered that at night, the police made its rounds on Wall Street every 7-8 minutes."
When the sculptor and his friends arrived at the spot he'd picked, they were surprised to see a Christmas tree had been erected there. They deposited the bronze bull anyway, and, as the artist told it, uncorked a bottle of Champagne.
Di Modica left Vittoria, Sicily, at age 19 for Florence, where he studied at the Fine Arts Academy.
At the time of his death, he was working on prototypes for a twin horse sculpture he planned to make for the Sicilian town. It was envisioned as a 40-meter-high (132-foot-high) work to be erected on the banks of a river.
The town declared Monday, when Di Modica's funeral will be held in Vittoria's St. John the Baptist Church, as an official day of mourning.
Veteran New Jersey state senator Gerald Cardinale dies at 86
HACKENSACK, N.J. | One of New Jersey's longest-serving state senators has died, family members said Saturday. Sen. Gerald Cardinale was 86.
Cardinale, who served almost four decades as a Republican in the New Jersey Senate, passed away Saturday at Hackensack Meridian Health Pascack Valley Medical Center after a brief illness that was not COVID-19-related, his daughter Marisa said.
"He devoted his life to serving his New Jersey community," the family said in a statement.
Gov. Phil Murphy said all flags would be lowered to half-staff on Monday when the Senate returns to session to honor Cardinale.
"Sen. Cardinale's 54-year record of public service to the state of New Jersey speaks to the level of trust his constituents placed in him," the Democratic governor said in a statement.
A longtime Bergen County dentist, Cardinale served on the Demarest school board in 1967 and eventually became mayor in 1975, then spent one term in the Assembly before moving to the Senate in 1982.
Senate GOP leader Tom Kean said the caucus is "deeply saddened" by Cardinale's passing, calling him "a trusted voice in the Senate for nearly four decades."
"Generations of Republicans and Democrats who served alongside him in the Legislature were guided by his sage advice," Kean said. "We are all better legislators for having served with him."
Cardinale, who had been planning to run for reelection, leaves behind his wife, Carole, of 62 years, his children — Marisa, Christine, Kara, Gary and Nicole — and his grandchildren, Sebastian, Allegra, Tamara and Chloe, the family said. Funeral arrangements are pending.
Assemblyman Robert Auth, R-Bergen, called Cardinale a longtime mentor to generations of Republicans and one of the best retail politicians he had ever seen.
"There was never a hand he did not want to shake, a door he did not want to knock on, or a train station where he did not want to greet commuters with a smile," Auth said.
Stan Williams, fearsome pitcher for LA Dodgers, dies at 84
LOS ANGELES | Stan Williams, the fearsome All-Star pitcher who helped the Los Angeles Dodgers win the 1959 World Series, has died. He was 84.
Williams died Saturday at his home in Laughlin, Nevada. He was hospitalized on Feb. 11 and had been in hospice care due to the effects of cardio-pulmonary illness, the Dodgers said Sunday and son Stan Jr. confirmed.
Williams also won a World Series title in 1990 as pitching coach with the Cincinnati Reds.
The two-time All-Star right-hander was part of a powerhouse Los Angeles rotation that included Sandy Koufax, Don Drysdale and Johnny Podres from 1960-62.
Williams, known as the "Big Hurt" because of his penchant for pitching inside, had a record of 109-94 and a 3.48 ERA during his 14-year career in the majors.
"They always talked about my dad being a mean headhunter. He put the uniform on and he changed immediately," Stan Jr. said by phone. "Henry Aaron always said my dad was the toughest guy he faced."
The younger Williams, who traveled with his father every summer from age 5 to 14, recalled his father facing the future Hall of Fame slugger in one game.
"He was 3-1 on Aaron and just drilled him," Williams Jr. said. "Aaron is on first base and he tried to pick him off and drilled him again."
Williams was signed as a free agent by the Dodgers and made the big-league club when the team moved from Brooklyn to Los Angeles in 1958. He was with them until 1962.
He pitched three scoreless innings in the second game of the National League tiebreaker series against the Milwaukee Braves to send the Dodgers into the 1959 World Series. Williams was the winning pitcher in the 6-5 victory in 12 innings. The Dodgers and Braves tied for the National League championship at the end of the regular season.
Williams was traded to the New York Yankees for Bill Skowron on Nov. 26, 1962. He played for the Yankees until 1964 and then for Cleveland (1965-69), Minnesota (1970-71), St. Louis (1971) and Boston (1972).
After retiring as a player, Williams continued in baseball as a pitching coach, scout and adviser to several teams. As pitching coach, he helped the Red Sox, Yankees and Reds win division, league and World Series titles.
For years he lived in the Los Angeles suburb of Lakewood before moving to Nevada in December.
He was predeceased by his wife Elaine. Besides his son, he is survived by his daughter Shawn, brother Jim Williams and three grandchildren.
Former Polish dissident Litynski drowns trying to save dog
WARSAW, Poland | Rescue officials were searching Monday for the body of Jan Litynski, a Polish communist-era dissident and democracy-era politician who drowned in a river while trying to save a dog. He was 75.
His death was first announced by Eugeniusz Smolar, another former democracy activist from the Solidarity era.
Police spokesman Mariusz Ciarka said Monday that police are searching for Litynski's body in the Narew River in the area around Pultusk, a town north of Warsaw.
Litynski had entered the river trying to save a dog that had been on ice and had fallen into the water, and Litynski's wife witnessed his drowning, Ciarka said. There was no information about the fate of the dog.
Litynski was engaged in a student protest movement against the communist authorities in 1968. He later joined a 1970s civic movement, the Workers' Defense Committee, which was a precursor to the Solidarity trade union and democracy movement of the 1980s, to which he also belonged.
During the communist era he was arrested multiple times and was interned during the martial law crackdown imposed in 1981, according to the Rzeczpospolita daily.
Litynski was a participant in the Round Table talks of 1989 that paved a peaceful transition from communism to a market economy and democracy, and went on to be a lawmaker. He was an adviser to former President Bronislaw Komorowski.
He was being remembered in Poland on Monday as a good and erudite man who had done much to serve the country.
COVID-19 kills former Lebanese militant Anis Naccache
DAMASCUS, Syria | Anis Naccache, a former pro-Palestinian militant who participated in the 1975 kidnapping of oil ministers in Vienna, died Monday after battling COVID-19, a Palestinian official and Lebanese media said. He was 69.
Naccache, a Lebanese citizen, participated in attacks around the world but spent much of the past two decades running a Beirut-based think tank and frequently appeared on TV shows as an analyst on Middle Eastern affairs.
A staunch supporter of the Palestinian cause, and in the past few decades the so-called Iran-led axis of resistance, Naccache last tweeted on Feb. 5 about the crisis over the formation of a new Cabinet in Lebanon.
Syria-based Palestinian official Khaled Abdul-Majid and Lebanese media outlets said Naccache died in a private hospital in the Syrian capital Damascus, where he had been undergoing treatment for days.
Born in June 1951, Naccache joined late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat's Fatah group in the early 1970s and also worked closely with the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine.
Among those Naccache recruited while with Fatah was Imad Mughniyeh, who later rose to become Hezbollah's top operative and the suspected mastermind of dramatic attacks on the U.S. Embassy and U.S. Marine barracks that killed hundreds of Americans in Lebanon in the 1980s. Mughniyeh was assassinated in Damascus in 2008 by a bomb planted in his vehicle in an attack blamed on Israel.
"Imad's friend is gone. May his clean soul be blessed by a thousand mercies," tweeted Mughniyeh's sister, Zeinab.
In the early 1970s, Naccache became a friend and associate of Venezuelan-born Ilich Ramirez Sanchez, a former political extremist known as Carlos the Jackal. In one of his most dramatic operations as a militant, Carlos led an attack on a meeting of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries in Vienna in December 1975. More than 60 people, including 11 OPEC ministers, were taken hostage and three people were killed. Naccache took part in the operation.
Years later, Naccache and four other men were convicted in the July 1980 attack in France on Shahpour Bakhtiar, Iran's prime minister before the 1979 Islamic Revolution. Bakhtiar escaped injury but a policeman and a bystander were killed.
In 1990, France pardoned Naccache and his four accomplices were expelled to Tehran. His release had been demanded by Iran-backed militants who set off deadly bombs around Paris in 1986.
Influential mayor of Mozambique city dies of COVID-19
JOHANNESBURG | Daviz Simango, the leader of Mozambique's opposition MDM party and the mayor of the major port city of Beira, died Monday in a hospital in South Africa, according to local media.
Simango, 57, died of complications from COVID-19 and diabetes, according to the Zitamar news agency. He had been flown to Johannesburg when his condition worsened over the weekend.
Simango was elected mayor of Beira, widely considered Mozambique's second city and a center of opposition support, in 2003 and remained its leader until his death.
He was popular and known for running an effective municipal government. Trained as an engineer, he supported building a system of flood channels to help the low-lying Indian Ocean port of 500,000 people cope with flooding from annual cyclones.
When Cyclone Idai devastated Beira in 2019, Simango was often out in the streets, helping to establish feeding centers and emergency health clinics. He was also an outspoken campaigner against global warming, which he blamed for the rising sea levels affecting Beira.
Simango was first elected Beira's mayor in an electoral coalition with Renamo, Mozambique's main opposition party. Five years later, however, Renamo leader Afonso Dhlakama refused to let him run for re-election. So he ran and won as an independent, and then established the Mozambique Democratic Movement. His brother, Lutero Simango, is the party's vice president and its leader in the national parliament.
Simango ran for president of Mozambique in 2009, 2014 and 2019, coming third each time after candidates from the ruling Frelimo party and Renamo. His best result was in 2009, when he won 8.59% of the vote.
His party, the MDM, at one point governed four cities — including the biggest city in the north of the country, Nampula, as well as Quelimane, the capital of Zambezia province, and the smaller city of Gurue. By the time of his death, however, Beira was the party's only electoral possession.
Simango was born in what is now Tanzania, the son of Uria Simango, the exiled deputy head of the Front for the Liberation of Mozambique, known as Frelimo, the movement that fought against Portuguese colonial rule. However, his father eventually became estranged from the party.
Frelimo came to power when Mozambique won independence from Portugal in 1975 and Simango's father was a critic of the ruling party.
Former world champion Gresini dies with COVID-19 at 60
BOLOGNA, Italy | Fausto Gresini, a former motorcycling world champion and team owner, died Tuesday from complications linked to the coronavirus. He was 60.
Gresini Racing said he died in the hospital in Bologna, exactly a month after his 60th birthday. It also posted the news on its official Twitter account.
"The news we would have never wanted to give, and that unfortunately we are forced to share with all of you," the team said. "After nearly two months battling against Covid, Fausto Gresini has sadly passed away, few days after turning 60. #CiaoFausto."
Gresini won two world titles in the 125cc class, in 1985 and 1987. He retired as a rider in 1994 and founded his team three years later.
Gresini tested positive for COVID-19 in December. He was hospitalized on Dec. 27 after an initial period at home.
He appeared to slowly improve but his condition worsened this month and he developed a serious lung infection.
Gresini Racing has had success in all classes, although the closest it has come to winning the MotoGP title was two second-place finishes with Sete Gibernau and Marco Melandri, in 2004 and 2005, respectively.
Long-serving Saudi oil minister Ahmed Zaki Yamani dies at 90
DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Ahmed Zaki Yamani, a long-serving oil minister in Saudi Arabia who led the kingdom through the 1973 oil crisis that shattered the West and once found himself held hostage by the assassin Carlos the Jackal, died Tuesday in London. He was 90.
Saudi state television reported his death, without offering a cause. It said he would be buried in the Muslim holy city of Mecca.
Known for his Western-style business suits and soft-spoken, measured tones, Yamani helped Saudi Arabia command a dominating presence in the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries from its birth. The kingdom remains a heavyweight in the group even today and its decisions ripple through the oil industry, affecting prices from the barrel down to the gasoline pump.
"To the global oil industry, to politicians and senior civil servants, to journalists and to the world at large, Yamani became the representative, and indeed the symbol, of the new age of oil," author Daniel Yergin wrote in his seminal book on the oil industry "The Prize." "His visage, with his large, limpid, seemingly unblinking brown eyes and his clipped, slightly curved Van Dyke beard, became familiar the planet over."
Yamani became oil minister in 1962 and would lead the ministry until 1986. He served a crucial role in the nascent oil cartel OPEC as producers around the world began to try to dictate prices to the world market previously dominated by the economic policies of Western nations.
OPEC's current secretary-general, Mohammad Sanusi Barkindo, and the cartel offered their "deepest and heartfelt condolences on the passing of one of the most respected and recognized industry leaders."
Yamani was the first Saudi representative on OPEC's board of governors in 1961. From his position, he became known not for the hysterics that accompanied years of turmoil across the wider Middle East, but an ever-calm negotiating style that Saudi ministers after him sought to mimic.
But that style for an oil kingpin known by the honorific "the Sheikh" would be tested by the times, which included upheaval in the global energy market. That was especially true in the 1973 Mideast War, in which Egypt, Syria and its allies launched a surprise attack on Israel on the Jewish holy day of Yom Kippur.
When the U.S. under President Richard Nixon moved to support Israel, Arab producers in OPEC agreed to cut their supply by 5% a month. When Nixon continued his support, the decision gave birth to what would become known as the "oil weapon" — a total embargo on the U.S. and other countries.
Prices in the U.S. would rise by 40%, leading to gasoline shortages and long lines at the pump. Oil prices globally would quadruple, leading to the wealth now seen across the Gulf Arab states today as the West's economy suffered.
Speaking to Danish television at the time, Yamani allowed himself to be blunter than usual.
"I think what we have as an oil weapon is far more greater than what we did. What we did was nothing at all. I think we can cut down production to let us say 20%. Instead of 25% it will be 80%. You think that Europe or Japan or the United States can survive with this?" he asked his interviewer.
Yamani added: "Your whole economy will collapse all of a sudden. If the Americans are thinking of a military action, this is also another possibility, but then — this is a suicide."
In 1975, Yamani twice found himself a part of major historical events. He stood just outside the room when a nephew of King Faisal assassinated the monarch in March.
In December, Yamani was among those taken hostage at OPEC headquarters in Vienna, an attack that killed three people and saw 11 OPEC ministers and dozens of others seized. The attack ended up with all the pro-Palestinian militants and those held hostage released.
Afterward, Yamani described Carlos, a Venezuelan whose real name is Ilich Ramírez Sánchez, as a "ruthless terrorist who operates with cold-blooded, surgical precision." From that moment on, Yamani traveled with an entourage of bodyguards everywhere he went.
Anis Naccache, a former pro-Palestinian militant who participated in the 1975 OPEC raid, died Monday in Syria at age 69 after battling the coronavirus.
Yamani also oversaw what would become the full nationalization of the Arabian American Oil Co. after the 1973 oil crisis. Today, it's better known as the Saudi Arabian Oil Co., or Aramco, a major employer for the kingdom and its main source of revenue.
In 1986, Saudi King Fahd dismissed Yamani with a terse statement carried by the state-run Saudi Press Agency. At the time, it was believed that Yamani disagreed with the king in his insistence OPEC work out a permanent system of production quotas and that the kingdom would be given a bigger share of the total. Saudi Arabia ultimately went along with another interim arrangement.
Yamani was born in Mecca in 1930, when camels still roamed the streets of the holy city. His father and grandfather were religious teachers and Islamic lawyers. He ultimately studied at New York University and Harvard. Twice married, he is survived by multiple children and grandchildren.
Beat poet, publisher Lawrence Ferlinghetti dies at 101
SAN FRANCISCO | Lawrence Ferlinghetti, the poet, publisher, bookseller and activist who helped launch the Beat movement in the 1950s and embodied its curious and rebellious spirit well into the 21st century, has died at age 101.
Ferlinghetti, a San Francisco institution, died Monday at his home, his son Lorenzo Ferlinghetti said. A month shy of his 102nd birthday, Ferlinghetti died "in his own room," holding the hands of his son and his son's girlfriend, "as he took his last breath." The cause of death was lung disease. Ferlinghetti had received the first dose of the COVID vaccine last week, his son said Tuesday.
Few poets of the past 60 years were so well known, or so influential. His books sold more than 1 million copies worldwide, a fantasy for virtually any of his peers, and he ran one of the world's most famous and distinctive bookstores, City Lights. Although he never considered himself one of the Beats, he was a patron and soul mate and, for many, a lasting symbol — preaching a nobler and more ecstatic American dream.
"Am I the consciousness of a generation or just some old fool sounding off and trying to escape the dominant materialist avaricious consciousness of America?" he asked in "Little Boy," a stream of consciousness novel published around the time of his 100th birthday
He made history. Through the City Lights publishing arm, books by Jack Kerouac, William S. Burroughs and many others came out and the release of Allen Ginsberg's landmark poem "Howl" led to a 1957 obscenity case that broke new ground for freedom of expression.
He also defied history. The Internet, superstore chains and high rents shut down numerous booksellers in the Bay Area and beyond, but City Lights remained a thriving political and cultural outlet, where one section was devoted to books enabling "revolutionary competence," where employees could get the day off to attend an anti-war protest.
"Generally, people seem to get more conservative as they age, but in my case, I seem to have gotten more radical," Ferlinghetti told Interview magazine in 2013. "Poetry must be capable of answering the challenge of apocalyptic times, even if this means sounding apocalyptic."
The store even endured during the coronavirus outbreak, when it was forced to close and required $300,000 to stay in business. A GoFundMe campaign quickly raised $400,000.
Ferlinghetti, tall and bearded, with sharp blue eyes, could be soft-spoken, even introverted and reticent in unfamiliar situations. But he was the most public of poets and his work wasn't intended for solitary contemplation. It was meant to be recited or chanted out loud, whether in coffee houses, bookstores or at campus gatherings.
His 1958 compilation, "A Coney Island of the Mind," sold hundreds of thousands of copies in the U.S. alone. Long an outsider from the poetry community, Ferlinghetti once joked that he had "committed the sin of too much clarity." He called his style "wide open" and his work, influenced in part by e.e. cummings, was often lyrical and childlike: "Peacocks walked/under the night trees/in the lost moon/light/when I went out/looking for love," he wrote in "Coney Island."
Ferlinghetti also was a playwright, novelist, translator and painter and had many admirers among musicians. In 1976, he recited "The Lord's Prayer" at the Band's farewell concert, immortalized in Martin Scorsese's "The Last Waltz." The folk-rock band Aztec Two-Step lifted its name from a line in the title poem of Ferlinghetti's "Coney Island" book: "A couple of Papish cats/is doing an Aztec two-step." Ferlinghetti also published some of the earliest film reviews by Pauline Kael, who with The New Yorker became one of the country's most influential critics.
He lived long and well despite a traumatic childhood. His father died five months before Lawrence was born in Yonkers, New York, in 1919, leaving behind a sense of loss that haunted him, yet provided much of the creative tension that drove his art. His mother, unable to cope, had a nervous breakdown two years after his father's death. She eventually disappeared and died in a state hospital.
Ferlinghetti spent years moving among relatives, boarding homes and an orphanage before he was taken in by a wealthy New York family, the Bislands, for whom his mother had worked as a governess. He studied journalism at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, received a master's in literature from Columbia University, and a doctorate degree from the Sorbonne in Paris. His early influences included Ernest Hemingway, Thomas Wolfe and Ezra Pound.
Ferlinghetti hated war, because he was in one. In 1945, he was a Navy commander stationed in Japan and remembered visiting Nagasaki a few weeks after the U.S. had dropped an atom bomb. The carnage, he would recall, made him an "instant pacifist."
In the early 1950s, he settled in San Francisco and married Selden Kirby-Smith, whom he divorced in 1976. (They had two children). Ferlinghetti also became a member of the city's rising literary movement, the so-called San Francisco Renaissance, and soon helped establish a gathering place. Peter D, Martin, a sociologist, had opened a paperback store in the city's North Beach section and named it after a recent Charlie Chaplin film, "City Lights." When Ferlinghetti saw the storefront, in 1953, he suggested he and Martin become partners. Each contributed $500.
Ferlinghetti later told The New York Times: "City Lights became about the only place around where you could go in, sit down, and read books without being pestered to buy something."
The Beats, who had met in New York in the 1940s, now had a new base. One project was City Lights' Pocket Poets series, which offered low-cost editions of verse, notably Ginsberg's "Howl." Ferlinghetti had heard Ginsberg read a version in 1955 and wrote him: "I greet you at the beginning of a great career. When do I get the manuscript?" a humorous take on the message sent from Ralph Waldo Emerson to Walt Whitman upon reading "Leaves of Grass."
Ferlinghetti published "Howl and Other Poems" in 1956, but customs officials seized copies of the book that were being shipped from London, and Ferlinghetti was arrested on obscenity charges. After a highly publicized court battle, a judge in 1957 ruled that "Howl" was not obscene, despite its sexual themes, citing the poem's relevance as a criticism of modern society. A 2010 film about the case, "Howl," starred James Franco as Ginsberg and Andrew Rogers as Ferlinghetti.
Ferlinghetti would also release Kerouac's "Book of Dreams," prison writings by Timothy Leary and Frank O'Hara's "Lunch Poems." Ferlinghetti risked prison for "Howl," but rejected Burrough's classic "Naked Lunch," worrying that publication would lead to "sure premeditated legal lunacy."
Ferlinghetti's eyesight was poor in recent years, but he continued to write and to keep regular hours at City Lights. The establishment, meanwhile, warmed to him, even if the affection wasn't always returned. He was named San Francisco's first poet laureate, in 1998, and City Lights was granted landmark status three years later. He received an honorary prize from the National Book Critics Circle in 2000 and five years later was given a National Book Award medal for "his tireless work on behalf of poets and the entire literary community."
"The dominant American mercantile culture may globalize the world, but it is not the mainstream culture of our civilization," Ferlinghetti said upon receiving the award. "The true mainstream is made, not of oil, but of literarians, publishers, bookstores, editors, libraries, writers and readers, universities and all the institutions that support them."
In 2012, Ferlinghetti won the Janus Pannonius International Poetry Prize from the Hungarian PEN Club. When he learned the country's right-wing government was a sponsor, he turned the award down.
Former Kentucky Supreme Court Justice Wintersheimer dies
COVINGTON, Ky. | Former Kentucky Supreme Court Justice Donald C. Wintersheimer, who served on the state's high court for 24 years, has died. He was 89.
Wintersheimer died Feb. 18 at home in Covington, Middendorf Funeral Home said.
He was elected to the Supreme Court in 1982 and served until his retirement in 2006. He previously served six years on the Kentucky Court of Appeals.
Wintersheimer earned his law degree at the University of Cincinnati in 1960 and worked in private practice and as city solicitor for Covington for 14 years.
He taught business law at Thomas More College and then Kentucky constitutional law at Chase College of Law at Northern Kentucky University for more than 20 years, the funeral home said.
Wintersheimer's funeral was Wednesday.
Michael Somare, Papua New Guinea's 1st prime minister, dies
CANBERRA, Australia | Michael Somare, a pivotal figure in Papua New Guinea's independence and the new nation's first prime minister, died Friday. He was 84.
Somare was the South Pacific island nation's longest-serving government leader after it became independent of Australia in 1975. He was prime minister for 17 years during four separate periods.
He died Friday after being diagnosed with a late-stage pancreatic cancer and admitted to hospital on Feb. 19, his daughter Betha Somare said in a statement.
"Sadly, pancreatic cancer is one of the most aggressive cancers that are rarely detected early. We as a family had only two weeks to look for possible treatments for our father," she said.
"Sir Michael was a loyal husband to our mother and great father first to her children, then grandchildren and great granddaughter. But we are endeared that many Papua New Guineans equally embraced Sir Michael as father and grandfather," she added.
Somare was born on April 9, 1936, in the city of Rabaul in East New Britain, which was occupied by Japan during World War II. His earliest education was in a Japanese-run school in the village of Karau where he learned to read and write in Japanese.
He was raised the son of a police officer in the province of East Sepik, which he went on to represent in Parliament.
Known as the father of the nation, Somare was pivotal in the South Pacific nation's move to independence from Australia and was the country's first prime minister from 1975 to 1980.
Ron May, emeritus fellow at the Australian National University's Department of Pacific Affairs and a respected Papua New Guinea expert, said Somare was one of the Pacific's most prominent and respected leaders.
"Papua New Guinea made a smooth transition to independence in 1975, with Somare as prime minister, confounding those in Australia and elsewhere who had predicted political and economic collapse," May recently wrote.
"It remains one of a fairly small number of post-colonial states that have maintained an unbroken record of democracy," May added.
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison described Somare in a tweet as the "founding father of democratic and independent #PNG and a great friend to Australia. "
On the 30th anniversary of Papuan New Guinea's independence, Somare said he was generally pleased with his country's progress.
"I'm happy about the way things have gone but, you know, we could have done better," he told Australian's SBS network in 2005.
His last term as prime minister ended controversially in 2011 while he was in a Singapore hospital. Lawmaker Peter O'Neill successfully moved a motion in Parliament that the prime ministership was vacant. O'Neill was elected prime minister and clung to power despite the Supreme Court twice ruling against him until he was legitimately elected in 2012.
Somare is survived by his wife Veronica and children Bertha, Sana, Arthur, Michael and Dulciana.
Man who played Duke Chapel bells for 50 years dies
DURHAM, N.C. | When J. Samuel Hammond arrived as a freshman at Duke University in 1964, he knew nothing about the musical instrument that allowed a player to send melodies ringing across campus from the bells in the school's iconic chapel tower. A demonstration from a fellow student introduced him to the 50-bell carillon that would become his life's work as he played music that marked the end of the academic day for countless students.
Hammond, who retired as university carillonneur in 2018 after playing the bells at Duke Chapel for five decades, died Thursday at age 73 in Durham, the university said in a news release.
His music was heard each weekday by students leaving the day's classes and, more recently, by alumni streaming the daily performances online.
Toward the beginning of each weekday afternoon's 15-minute performance, Hammond would pound out five strikes of the largest bell to mark five o'clock. Then, he typically moved on to hymns and other sometimes whimsical selections such as the movie themes from Star Trek or Star Wars, according to a university news article. He would often play songs to mark special occasions, such as the French anthem "La Marseillaise" on Bastille Day. When the basketball team played its archrival from the University of North Carolina, he played the Duke fight song.
"The carillon marks the rhythm of our days here at Duke, providing a shared experience that — sometimes subtly — connects us with one another, with traditions that stretch across centuries and continents, and even with God," the Rev. Luke A. Powery, dean of Duke Chapel, said in 2018 when Hammond retired. "The person who has carried on that tradition at Duke for decades, faithfully and unassumingly, is Sam."
The bells at the Gothic chapel are played by striking wooden keys by hand and pressing foot pedals, similar to a piano. The keys and pedals control cables that cause hammers to strike the bells, which range in size from 10 pounds (4.5 kg) to more than 5 tons (4.5 metric tons), the university article said.
It was physical work. A demonstration video posted by Duke at the time of his retirement shows Hammond shifting forward on his bench and putting his weight down to operate the largest bell when sounding the five o'clock chimes. As he commences the next tune, he leans in and, with subtle flowing movements, uses the side of his hand to strike the thin wooden keys that control smaller bells. The result is a buoyant melody emanating from the chapel's 210-foot (64-meter) tower.
In addition to weekdays, Hammond also performed for Sunday chapel services and university events. The university said he played music on the bells an average of 300 times a year, estimating his performances exceeded 15,000. When he retired as carillonneur, two other musicians took over his duties.
"The sound of those bells is omnipresent in the life of our community, but also unassuming, a gentle accompaniment to the rhythm of our days," Zebulon Highben, director of Chapel music, said in a statement Thursday. "This was Sam, too: omnipresent on campus, unassuming, deeply kind and thoughtful, humbly uninterested in the adulation he deserved."
Hammond also earned earned two master's degrees, in library science and theological studies, and worked for four decades as a music librarian at the school.
Hammond, who grew up in Americus, Georgia, enrolled at Duke in 1964 and learned how to play the carillon after a demonstration from a fellow student, Hammond recalled in 2018.
"When I was a freshman at Duke, I met the student carillonneur at the time, John Simpson, when we studied organ together," Hammond said in the article about his retirement. "John invited me to see the carillon (of which I knew nothing), and in response to my intrigued interest in such an unusual instrument and in a potential opportunity of being of service to the university, kindly provided me beginning instruction and, ultimately, opportunity to play."
He began playing regularly, according to the university article, and he was promoted to chapel carillonneur in 1968, the same year he graduated. In 1986, he was named university carillonneur, becoming the second person to hold that position.