The JFK Jr. Tragedy:

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Vol 37 Issue 12

Abandoned Mall Retains Eerie Vestiges Of Fun Shopping Atmosphere

ROSEVILLE, MN–The silent hull of Northlands Mall disquieted Erik Sandvig Monday, when the local man gazed through the locked glass doors of what was, in happier times, "Roseville's One-Stop Shopping Fun Zone." "Man, it's really creepy," Sandvig said of the once-thriving mall's mausoleum-like stillness. "There's the Sam Goody where you could get all the hottest new releases. And right next door is the Foot Locker that had all your favorite gear from Nike and Adidas." His nostalgic longing satisfied, Sandvig walked on, leaving the ghosts of former fun-seeking shoppers to roam the aisles undisturbed.

Tenants Feel Guilty Asking Elderly Maintenance Man To Fix Anything

BOSTON–Tenants in the apartment building at 437 Market St. reported Monday that they experience a gnawing feeling of guilt every time they ask Hank Hudson, the 82-year-old maintenance man, to repair anything. "The other day, my sink was clogged and, at first, I was going to ask Hank to fix it," Apt. 4B tenant Julie Winters said Monday. "Then I remembered the time he repaired the furnace and coughed for weeks afterwards. In the end, I just bought a snake and did it myself."

Oscar Countdown 2002 Begins

HOLLYWOOD, CA–With just 50 weeks to go before the big event, the buzz surrounding the 2002 Academy Awards is beginning to build. "Will Tom Hanks turn in a performance that completes his Oscar hat trick? Will Pearl Harbor be the night's big winner, assuming it's a film of artistic merit?" Rebecca Ascher-Walsh wrote in Entertainment Weekly's "Oscar '02 Preview!" double issue, which hit newsstands Tuesday. "These are some of the questions sure to be answered in just 341 days." Ascher-Walsh said Entertainment Weekly will run exclusive photos of the Versace gown to be worn by the radiant newcomer who will nab a Best Actress nomination for her surprise, star-making turn "the very moment" she becomes known.

Citizens To Vote On Young Or Old Reagan For $15 Bill

WASHINGTON, DC–On the heels of the Ronald Reagan Airport and U.S.S. Ronald Reagan aircraft carrier, citizens can now vote for one of two portraits of the former president to adorn the U.S. Mint's upcoming $15 bill. "Choose either the young, General Electric Theater-era Reagan or the older, second-term-president Reagan," U.S Mint Deputy Director John Mitchell said Monday. Citizens may cast ballots at any FDIC-member bank. All voters will receive a commemorative LeRoy Neiman poster of Reagan delivering his 1981 inaugural address.

Global Warming Heats Up

Last week, President Bush rejected the 1997 Kyoto Protocol, which requires industrialized nations to curb greenhouse-gas emissions. What do you think?

Russell Crowe Has Something To 'Crowe' About... An Oscar Win!

Item! In case you're on Mars or something, here's a news flash: The Oscars happened! I always get cable this time of year so I can watch that catty Joan Rivers and her lovely but retarded daughter dish on the fashions. Well, after last year's debacle, I was determined not to miss the Oscars, so I recorded them, and I even took notes so I could recall some of the highlights. Here they are!
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The JFK Jr. Tragedy:

The JFK Jr. Tragedy

It's hard to believe, but it has been maybe a year or so since America lost its prince, John F. Kennedy Jr.

An entire nation mourned on that fateful day–probably last spring, but maybe even the summer before–when the plane he was piloting to some relative's wedding on one of those islands off the coast of Massachusetts like Nantucket or Martha's Vineyard plunged into the body of water it was flying over.

Within hours of the crash, journalists and TV news crews from around the world had descended upon the scene. The networks suspended their regular programming as millions of us watched the monumental story unfold at home, glued to our televisions for the latest word on the status of JFK Jr. and his wife, whose name escapes us at the moment. It may have started with a "C." Or maybe a "K." Kathryn? No, that's not it.

As with the death of his father, every one of us can remember exactly where we were when we heard the news.

"I think I was driving with my girlfriend to her parents' place, and we heard about it on the radio," said Andy Zeigler of Tarrytown, NY. "Actually, I think I'm thinking of Princess Di. I definitely remember it was a huge deal at the time, though."

"When I got home from work, my roommate told me that JFK Jr. had died in a plane crash," said Richard Pollian of Duncanville, TX. "I distinctly remember thinking to myself, 'Huh.'"

A year or so after the tragedy, despite exhaustive efforts by federal investigators and the media, many questions remain: Wasn't there somebody else on board besides JFK Jr. and what's-her-name? What was the cause of the crash, again? And did those aviation experts who were all over the news that whole week after the crash say it could have been averted or not? Some of these questions have been answered. Still others have been answered, too, but those answers cannot quite be recalled at the moment.

John F. Kennedy Jr. at the <i>George</i> launch maybe two or three years before his death.

The questions do not end with the crash. The loss of John-John has left us with a host of what-ifs to ponder. One can only wonder what might have been, had he lived: Would his George magazine, which folded several months ago, have survived slightly longer than it did without its leader? Some believe it was poised to hang on another year or two. Would he have been photographed rollerblading shirtless in Central Park? Likely, though he hinted at a shift toward shirtless frisbee-throwing. Would he have gone on to make more allusions to the possibility of maybe one day running for public office? He showed signs. Tragically, we will never know for certain.

Come to think of it, maybe it was Cape Cod they were headed to.

Yes, John F. Kennedy Jr., the one remaining crown jewel in America's royal family, was cruelly taken from us 10 to 18 months ago. It probably was summertime, most likely the summer before last, since the summer of 2000 was too recent. But summertime definitely sounds right. For who among us can't faintly recall those indelible televised images of onlookers milling about the shoreline in shorts and tank tops as Coast Guard officials or somebody like that went about their rescue efforts? The millions of us who clung to our television sets in those unforgettable hours following the crash sort of can.

But regardless of when the crash occurred, or where, or who was on board, one thing is certain: John Fitzgerald Kennedy Jr. may be gone, but he is not completely forgotten.

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