- The Washington Times - Sunday, June 19, 2005

Star’s generosity

Stevie Wonder has arranged to pay the funeral expenses for five children who were killed in a city row house fire, his publicist said.

Mr. Wonder was heartbroken after hearing about the blaze and wanted to do something to help the family, said his publicist, Ira Tucker.

“I don’t think he’s ever done anything like this before,” Mr., Tucker said. “It’s just good that something can be lifted from them.”

Mr. Wonder, 55, also hopes to visit with the families while he is in Philadelphia for the Live 8 concert on July 2. “Stevie feels good about this,” said Mr. Tucker, quoted Friday by Associated Press. “It’s been just a heart-wrenching thing.”

The June 12 blaze in the city’s Kensington neighborhood killed three sisters, Summer Cooke, 5; Samantha Bowers, 4; and Sabrina Dickson, 22 months; and two of their cousins who lived nearby, Amber Johnson, 3; and Reginald Ringgold, 1.

The three sisters’ mother, Shannon Bowers, 21, and her boyfriend, Lester Cooke, 33, escaped by jumping from a second-floor window into a children’s wading pool on the sidewalk.

Investigators were still trying to determine what sparked the fire.

Stolen Rodin recovered

A Chilean university student has confessed to stealing a $1 million bronze sculpture by the late French artist Auguste Rodin, police said Saturday.

The “Torse D’Adele” (“Adele’s Torso”) was stolen late Thursday from the National Fine Arts Museum of Santiago. It was returned Friday by a student who claimed to have found it in Forest Park, where the museum is located, Agence France-Presse reported.

But the student turned out to be the thief, confessing the crime to authorities after returning the piece, police sources said.

Luis Emilio Onfray Fabres, 20, was conditionally released Saturday after he was questioned by authorities in Santiago.

A student at the Art and Social Sciences University, Mr. Onfray claims that he snatched the sculpture as “an investigation project” to show how vulnerable to theft the museum was.

Earlier reports said the sculpture had been returned by a young boy.

The sculpture, 19 inches high and weighing 44 pounds, is part of a Rodin exhibit in Santiago’s National Fine Arts Museum.

The exhibit started in May and includes 62 sculptures, 30 drawings and 28 photographs from the collection of the Paris Rodin Museum. It was due to run through Aug. 7, when it will return to France.

Some 100,000 people visited the show in its first month alone, organizers said.

The artist died in 1917 at the age of 77.

Compiled by Kevin Chaffee from wire reports.

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