Mellencamp builder sentenced

Indianapolis � A home builder who pleaded guilty to overbilling John Mellencamp received a four-year suspended sentence Tuesday and was ordered to pay a $10,000 fine.

Timothy Eldredge pleaded guilty to a felony charge of theft of $134,471 by falsified billing invoices in an effort to bilk the singer and his wife, model Elaine Mellencamp, said Roger Rayl, a spokesman for the Marion County prosecutor's office.

The couple had hired The Eldredge Group of Indianapolis to build a $2.5 million home near Lake Monroe south of Bloomington.

Eldredge gave the Mellencamps a $98,000 check on Tuesday to complete paying restitution, Rayl said.

Stroke of luck for Kirk Douglas

Washington � Kirk Douglas says suffering a stroke made him appreciate life more.

"I'm still alive," the 85-year-old actor told AP Radio. "The sky is bluer, the trees are greener. People talk of heaven, but maybe this is heaven and we don't know it."

Douglas has written a book, "My Stroke of Luck," about his 1996 stroke. He said he's not embarrassed to admit that he cried afterward when he thought he'd never speak well again.

"Great, big, strong Kirk Douglas, talking about his crying," he said.

The stairway to corporate heaven

Detroit � Cadillac, a car line associated with old-money luxury and gentility, is hooking up with Led Zeppelin, the classic rock band known for hard-driving heavy metal music.

As part of a new marketing campaign called "Break Through" to raise the profile of Cadillac's newest vehicles � the CTS, XLR, Escalade and Escalade EXT � television commercials will feature the song "Rock and Roll," General Motors Corp. said Tuesday. It's the first time Led Zeppelin has sold its music for commercial use, GM said.

The "Break Through" theme will be used in the marketing campaign during high profile events including the Super Bowl, Winter Olympics, Academy Awards, Wimbledon tennis and Ryder Cup golf along with other prime-time programming.

Hip-hop stars reach out to youth

New York � Hip-hop celebrities like rapper Nas, Def Jam record label founder Russell Simmons and Reverend Run of the group Run-DMC attended the first Hip-Hop Youth Summit.

About 800 people gathered at the auditorium of York College on Monday to attend the forum, presented by organizations including the Hip-Hop Summit Action Network.

The network was put together by Simmons and others in the industry to encourage those involved in hip-hop and its culture to take more responsibility for it.

Nas, who along with Simmons and Reverend Run received a Youth Summit award for his commitment to community, said hip-hop had a history of promoting change.


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