- The Washington Times - Tuesday, June 6, 2000

Father of the year?

What a weekend for country music sensation Tim McGraw.

Just one night after being honored here in Washington as "Father of the Year" by the National Fatherhood Initiative (among its co-chairmen is retired Gen. Colin Powell), Mr. McGraw landed in jail on charges of second-degree assault, obstructing governmental administration, menacing and resisting arrest.

The 33-year-old father of two and husband of singer Faith Hill, Mr. McGraw was accused of assaulting law enforcement officers in Buffalo, N.Y., when coming to the aid of fellow country crooner Kenny Chesney, who had purportedly stolen a Mounted Reserve police horse.

Both men posted bond.

Well put

It was all smiles as the Army's highest-ranking woman three-star Lt. Gen. Claudia Kennedy retired at a Pentagon ceremony.

Gen. Kennedy, you'll recall, drew national attention in March after accusing a fellow general of sexual harassment. She claims Army Maj. Gen. Larry G. Smith not only tried to steal a kiss, but brushed an inappropriate portion of her uniform four years ago.

That makes The Washington Post's headline of Gen. Kennedy's retirement ceremony all the more hilarious: "Three-Star General Ends 31-Year Career With Praise for Service's Advances on Women …"

Hillary and the whip

We're not sure who to break the news to first, but first lady Hillary Rodham Clinton and Republican House Majority Whip Tom DeLay have just been chosen to appear on stage together next Monday night as recipients of the 2000 Humanitarian Award.

This comes after the Web site for the recent Hillary-orchestrated Million Mom March gave President Clinton the "Mom's Apple Pie Award" and depicts Mr. DeLay in a dunce cap in the "Time Out Chair."

The awards will be presented by the Orphan Foundation of America and its Oliver Project, a national leadership and scholarship program to honor college-bound foster youth.

Pryce and Payton

It's not often that a congresswoman is called to testify before her peers, but Rep. Deborah Pryce, Ohio Republican, will lead off a hearing tomorrow by sharing her personal story of losing a child to cancer this past year.

The next day, Connie Payton, wife of Hall of Fame running back Walter Payton, will testify about alternative therapies that helped ease her husband's pain in the final days of his life.

Government Reform Committee Chairman Rep. Dan Burton has called the two days of hearings examining cancer care and integrative oncology for the next century.

Prior to her appearance, Mrs. Payton will announce the creation of the Walter Payton Cancer Fund.

No rafts required

Cuban President Fidel Castro will allow a group of Cuban farmers and restaurateurs to come to the United States this fall for a learning tour on food safety, sponsored by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

Food-safety technology and practice will be a high point of the Cubans' stateside education, says Washington food and wine expert David Pursglove.

"The Castro government is planning to reopen the island to revenue-producing tourism, and the tourists sought will be from the U.S. and Europe, where people are acutely conscious of food safety," he explains.

American restaurateurs will be among the teaching hosts.

Flying with Ellen

By presidential proclamation, the Federal Aviation Administration is celebrating National Gay & Lesbian Pride Month with a film festival for its employees.

Among the flicks is this Friday's noon feature on actress Ellen DeGeneres: "The Real Ellen Story."

The movie traces the battle behind one of the most controversial television episodes in history, and features appearances by Miss DeGeneres; her girlfriend, Anne Heche; Oprah Winfrey; Melissa Etheridge; and newswoman Diane Sawyer.

Smoked flamingo?

Get a load of the four guests from Florida who will be lodging in the Audubon Suite of the Phoenix Park Hotel on Capitol Hill this Thursday.

Read one flamingo, a red rat snake, an osprey and an armadillo.

"These animals are going to be part of the event," explains hotel spokeswoman Diana Kaiser, referring to the "Annual Great Arboretum Cookout The Florida Festival," to be held at the National Arboretum.

None of the guests, she assures us, will be barbecued.

Honorary chairman of the cookout is Florida Gov. Jeb Bush. Among those pigging out: Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Conner, Florida Sens. Connie Mack and Bob Graham, Missouri Sen. Christopher S. Bond, and Florida Reps. Alcee L. Hastings, Carrie P. Meek, Michael Bilirakis, Mark Foley, Porter J. Goss, John L. Mica, E. Clay Shaw Jr., Jim Davis and Karen L. Thurman.

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