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The skinny: Florida church's message draws mixed reactions

sign from above

Some don't find his Message welcoming

A Central Florida church has irked some people — and attracted others — with its highway billboard proclaiming: "Scumbags Welcome!" Pastor Moses Robbins says he had hoped it would bring new people to his Saturday Night Live Church in Tavares. (The church is named for its Saturday night services featuring a live rock band, not for the satirical TV show with Dana Carvey's "Church Lady," above.) He has been deluged with calls, split equally between supporters who like the alternative style and critics who are offended by his choice of words. But Robbins says some people have misinterpreted the message. He says he's not belittling anyone but is just trying to adopt Jesus' welcoming attitude toward sinners and all. The billboard contract expires in five months. Robbins says he hopes to replace it with an even bolder message.

ferry for sale

Dream boat turns into nightmare

A man who bought a used 300-foot Staten Island ferry to convert it into a waterborne dorm for New York college students is drowning in a bad case of buyer's remorse. Former marina owner Jacques Guillet bought the orange ferry for $162,000 at a closed-bid auction three years ago. But he has failed to find an affordable parking spot along the area's waterfront for the 3,500-passenger boat, named the Gov. Herbert H. Lehman. The city wanted to charge him $1,000 a day. Now he's paying $6,000 a month to dock it in Staten Island. He told the Wall Street Journal he's trying to sell the ferry. Any buyer would need to deal with complicated logistics, including the boat's size. There were no bids when he advertised it on eBay.

Count: 1, 2, 3, 4

Census makes four residents official

The Wyoming town of Lost Springs can finally count on the U.S. census to get its population correct: four, not one. The Casper Star-Tribune reported the Census Bureau somehow missed four other residents of the town when it counted only one person in 2000. Leda Price, who lives on the west side of the one-block Main Street, jokes officials must have counted only her side of town. The 2010 census, however, got it right when it found and counted all four of Lost Springs' residents. The newspaper reported that since the 2000 survey, two residents died but a newcomer moved in.

on the clock

Time is money in Czech capital

Prague's Astronomical Clock — one of the major historical landmarks in the Czech capital — has been shut down for repair. Prague City Hall says the 600-year-old medieval clock was shut down Monday and won't resume operation until April 25. Crowds of tourists watch a show of 12 apostles and other figures moving on the clock hourly from morning to evening every day.

Compiled from Times wires.

The skinny: Florida church's message draws mixed reactions 04/04/11 [Last modified: Monday, April 4, 2011 11:43pm]
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