- The Washington Times - Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Help for historic digs

The Smithsonian Arts and Industries Building, among more than 70 District buildings designed by noted architect Adolf Cluss, yesterday was put on the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s 2006 list of America’s 11 Most Endangered Historic Places.

The structure, located midway between the Washington Monument and the Capitol, has been closed since 2004 because of neglect, a deteriorating roof and other infrastructure problems. Built between 1879 and 1881, it opened in time for the inaugural ball of President James A. Garfield and is considered one of the nation’s best-preserved examples of 19th-century exposition architecture.

Originally called the National Museum, the Arts and Industries Building was the first and only Smithsonian museum on the Mall until the completion of the National Museum of Natural History in 1910. Its distinctive architecture and prominent location on the Mall have long attracted curious visitors, who are disappointed to find the doors locked, with no hint as to when — or whether — they will open again.

“The Smithsonian Arts and Industries Building represents a serious challenge for the Smithsonian and an exceptional opportunity for preservationists,” says Richard Moe, president of the National Trust for Historic Preservation. “What was once the crown jewel of the Smithsonian Institution has become an empty relic. It’s time to find a productive use for this landmark — perhaps even an appropriate private use that incorporates public access — and return it to the spotlight it so richly deserves.”

Placement on the list might help. The Ennis House in Los Angeles, the grandest of Frank Lloyd Wright’s textile-block houses, was damaged by an earthquake in 1994. However, after it appeared on the 11 Most Endangered list last year, the Ennis House Foundation was able to embark upon the first phase of renovation.

Beginning next month, cable TV’s History Channel will air public service announcements about the 2006 11 Most Endangered Historic Places throughout the summer.

Pay up, Diddy told

New York’s highest court declined to hear Sean “Diddy” Combs’ appeal of a lower court decision ordering him to pay more than $19,000 a month in child support.

The hip-hop mogul was ordered last year to pay ex-girlfriend Misa Hylton-Brim for the care of their 12-year-old son, Justin. According to the Detroit Free Press, the order issued by the New York Supreme Court’s Appellate Division in 2005 came after Mr. Combs, 36, appealed a Westchester Family Court ruling that he should pay $35,000 a month.

Miss Hylton-Brim had sued for higher monthly payments and about $398,000 in back support. Mr. Combs initially was ordered to pay $2,795 a month in child support, according to court documents. He also pays child support to model Kim Porter for their son, Christian.

Deep pockets

Forbes.com has named Jackie Chan one of 10 generous celebrities, placing the Hong Kong action film star among the ranks of Bono, Oprah Winfrey and Angelina Jolie, Associated Press reports.

In a report released Tuesday, the Web site said that Mr. Chan, who set up the Jackie Chan Charitable Foundation, gave $64,000 to UNICEF to help tsunami victims in Asia in December 2004 and recently donated $100,000 to Chrysalis, a Los Angeles-based charity for the homeless.

Besides Mr. Chan, Bono, Miss Winfrey and Miss Jolie, the other generous celebrities identified by Forbes.com are Nicolas Cage, Sandra Bullock, Steven Spielberg, Celine Dion, Paul McCartney and California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.

The 10 celebrities were not ranked.

Richards says he’s OK

Rolling Stones guitarist Keith Richards has moved quickly to deny escalating rumors that he faces permanent brain damage and paralysis after reportedly falling from a tree in Fiji last month.

Several British tabloids yesterday claimed the star, 62, was undergoing a second operation on his brain to remove broken bone and stem internal bleeding at an Auckland, New Zealand, hospital, the Internet Movie Database reports. However, a publicist for Mr. Richards insists the reports are inaccurate. “The first and only operation was done on Monday, May 8, and was 100 percent successful,” the publicist said. “There was no brain damage. He continues to improve as expected.”

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

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