Dirk Johnson

Hometown Hero

President Obama may be getting a cold shoulder from some Democratic candidates lately, but he remains a powerful asset in his old stomping ground in Illinois.

MARRIED TO A MONSTER

From his jail in Wichita, Dennis Rader, the sadistic serial killer who called himself BTK--short for his method: bind, torture, kill--phoned a local television station and talked about his wife, Paula, and their grown children, Kerri and Brian. "Paula has opened up a little bit more," he told station KSNW. "She's writing a little bit more.

TEXAS, FOOTBALL AND JUICE

These were not standard cheers and jeers for a suburban Dallas high-school basketball game. Fans from Plano East on Friday night screamed at the rival Colleyville Heritage team in a local tournament: "Steroids!

AT HOME IN TWO WORLDS

The other kids in grade school talked about family life. Camping trips with Dad, hanging out with Mom at the mall. Kyle Michaels kept quiet. Nobody would understand.

BATTLING THE THIN ENVELOPE

A thin envelope does not always mean rejection; early applicants may be deferred to regular decision, and regular applicants may be wait-listed. Students might see either status as purgatory, unsure whether to hope or grieve.

THE SMELL OF SUCCESS

It started as a joyous Easter egg hunt on the Nebraska prairie. But when the winds shifted, it stunk so badly of hog manure the kids ran indoors. "Oh Grandma," one of the little girls cried to Kathleen Stephens, 68, "it's terrible!" The awful stench comes from some 20,000 pigs being raised a mile or so from the Stephens farm.

SEX, LOVE AND NURSING HOMES

At 86, William Depippa is one hip dude. Sporting an earring and suspenders, he sparked the interest of Rosemary Gould, 62, a kindly grandmother who lived down the hall at the Barn Hill Care Center in Newton, N.J.

An Anxious Search On The Plains

Dru Sjodin turns heads. The 22-year-old University of North Dakota senior with blonde hair and sparkling blue eyes--the homecoming queen in high school, as well as an honor student--was strolling through the Columbia Mall parking lot on the afternoon of Nov. 22.

Sex, Love And Nursing Homes

At 86, William DePippa is one hip dude. Sporting an earring and suspenders, he sparked the interest of Rosemary Gould, 62, a kindly grandmother who lived down the hall at the Barn Hill Care Center in Newton, N.J.

Case Of The Missing Head

On the streets of Galveston, the mysterious drifter--seemingly a mute woman--was known as Dorothy Ciner. But under the ill-fitting wig, in reality, was Robert Durst, a fabulously rich New York real-estate heir, living on the lam.

THE BEST OF FRIENDS

Big dudes on campus, Patrick Dennehy and Carlton Dotson didn't hang much with the other basketball players at Baylor University in Waco, Texas. Usually, it was just the two of them. "They were always together," says LaDonna Nelson, a Baylor student and neighbor. "If one was going to eat, the other one was, too." On Memorial Day, they celebrated Dotson's birthday by staying home and grilling steaks.

A Killer's Deadly Aim

It's small, but lightning fast, coming out of the cannon at 3,000 feet per second. It's available at any neighborhood ammo store, but it's the preferred ordnance of Army riflemen and Olympic sharpshooters.

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