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Bodies of pilot, passenger recovered

The bodies of the pilot and passenger of a single-engine Cessna 172 have been recovered from a mountainous region near the Georgia-North Carolina border, authorities said.

The bodies, believed to be those of a pilot and passenger who left Leesburg on Friday, were airlifted out of the area Wednesday afternoon, said Jay Dresser, a spokesman for the Rabun County, Ga., emergency management agency.

A Civil Air Patrol plane on Tuesday spotted the wreckage about 300 yards from the top of Rabun Bald Mountain, Dresser said.

Pilot Bob Brodin and his friend Donna Elliott had Leesburg on Friday and were believed to be heading to Franklin, N.C. The plane was last seen Friday.

And the survey says . . .

marriages are weaker

TALLAHASSEE _ A survey of 700 Floridians shows that two-thirds believe marriages are weaker today than they were 30 years ago _ but most say their own marriages are strong.

The survey was conducted for the Florida Family Council, a non-profit statewide research and education group based in Tampa. The president of the organization said he believed the results showed Floridians are worried about the future of the institution of marriage.

Half of the people surveyed rated the strength of their marriage as 9.1 or better on a scale of 1 to 10.

U.S. Treasurer says

new fifty is nifty

MIAMI _ In a haven for souvenir-shopping tourists, U.S. Treasurer Mary Ellen Withrow on Wednesday rolled out new $50 bills with big numbers to make the value easier to see and anti-counterfeiting devices to make them harder to fake.

As part of a national tour that began Monday in New York, Withrow is promoting the improved bill, which will be followed in the coming years by doctored versions of smaller denominations.

The most obvious change is a bigger portrait of Ulysses Grant. Less-visible changes are microprinting of the words "The United States of America" in his collar and the number "50" repeated in the border.

A security thread bearing the words "USA 50" and a flag is embedded in the bill to the right of the portrait. Grant also appears on a watermark that can be seen from the front or back when held up to a light.

On the flip side, a big, clear "50" without the traditional stylized print is in the lower right-hand corner for easy reading.

Police investigate theft

of 107,000 golf balls

PORT ST. LUCIE _ Police are looking for someone who stole 107,000 golf balls.

Someone made off with the golf balls this weekend after slicing through a metal locking plate on a storage unit at a Nitro Golf warehouse.

But the 214 boxes of recycled balls were recovered Wednesday after someone, who claimed he bought them from a wholesaler in Florida, suspected they might be stolen. The person then contacted Nitro's plant in Myrtle Beach, S.C., said Jim Crawford, vice president of finance for Nitro Leisure Products.