- The Washington Times - Sunday, August 29, 2004

On the mend

Associated Press

“X-Men” star Patrick Stewart is recovering at home after undergoing an angioplasty procedure to widen an artery, his publicist said Friday.

Angioplasty involves the use of catheters to place a small balloon in a narrowed blood channel. When the balloon is inflated, the artery flows more freely.

Mr. Stewart, 64, — who played Professor Xavier in “X-Men” and its sequel, and Captain Jean-Luc Picard on “Star Trek: The Next Generation”— went in for an annual physical last Monday, according to his publicist, Kelly Bush.

Doctors detected a blood-flow problem and recommended “pre-emptive angioplasty” to head off any future ailments.

Miss Bush described the procedure as a success and said he is resting before returning to work next week, where he plans to finish the upcoming movie “The Game of Their Lives.”

Feds to Bruce: pay up

E! Online

Bruce Willis is in trouble for messing with his whole 10 yards.

The Hollywood action star has agreed to pay a $21,000 fine to the Environmental Protection Agency for unwittingly breaking federal wetlands protection laws when he cleared trees and filled in part of a private island on his property in Hailey, Idaho.

Mr. Willis’ attorney, Ned Williamson, says violations were discovered sometime last fall after EPA officials received an anonymous tip. The actor was subsequently cited for failing to obtain a work permit for burying a sprinkler system and adding 10 cubic yards of topsoil to a stream to allow access to the half-acre island.

What Mr. Willis didn’t realize, says Mr. Williamson, was that the wetlands he was filling in his own back yard fed into an environmentally sensitive tributary of the Big Wood River under federal protection.

Carla Fromm, an environmental scientist with the EPA in Boise, told Idaho’s Times-News that the island was probably created by a developer before Mr. Willis bought the Sun Valley-area residence in 1987.

But, says Miss Fromm, Mr. Willis’ little landscape makeover destroyed the “wetland quality [of the island] that provides habitat for wildlife. It will take years to restore the loss of trees.”

Aside from the fine, the negotiated settlement calls for the actor to begin restoring the land to its original character by Oct. 31. To do so, he’ll be required to plant new trees and allow for a long regrowth period, which will be monitored over a decade by the EPA. Meanwhile, all criminal charges against Mr. Willis have been dropped.

Apparently, this isn’t the first time the superstar has run afoul of environmental regulators.

According to the Times-News, Mr. Willis was cited by the Idaho Department of Water Resources for a stream alteration project in 1998.

Simon says

Reuters News Agency

Simon Cowell, the “American Idol” judge audiences love to hate, turned his brutally critical eye on himself Saturday and predicted the demise of his own fame.

“I can do what I do on these shows, I can add some humor, some honesty, whatever, but I have no inclination to be doing this in five or 10 years time.”

Yet Mr. Cowell, one of Britain’s highest paid television celebrities, doesn’t think audiences have tired of his sharp tongue. He is set to judge another show of his own creation called “The X Factor,” which airs next month.

The program expands on the successful talent show format of “Idol” by adding older contestants and letting groups, rather than just solo acts, compete for a recording contract.

“I’m bored of just watching 22-year-olds coming on to a talent show and saying, ‘Make me famous,’” Mr. Cowell said.

The blunt critic will be joined on “The X Factor” by Sharon Osbourne, the wife of rocker Ozzy Osbourne.

No. 3 for Beckhams

Associated Press

Real Madrid soccer star David Beckham and his wife Victoria are expecting their third child in March, the couple announced yesterday.

Victoria Beckham, 30, a former Spice Girl, and Mr. Beckham have two sons: Brooklyn, 5, and Romeo, 2.

Compiled by Robyn-Denise Yourse from Web and wire reports.

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