People

Carson foots bill for skate park

Corning, Iowa � Skateboarders in a small southwest Iowa town will have Johnny Carson to thank when their new park is built.

The former talk show host responded to a request for a small donation to help build the skate park in his hometown with a check for $75,000 � enough to pay for nearly the whole project.

Lori Goldsmith, who's organizing efforts to raise money for the park, wrote to Carson several weeks ago seeking a small contribution.

Goldsmith said she was shocked when she opened an express mail package from Carson and found the check.

Carson was born in Corning in 1925. He was host of "The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson" on NBC from 1962 to 1992.

Rosie credits couple for candor

New York � A gay foster couple in Florida helped inspire Rosie O'Donnell's decision to talk about her own homosexuality.

Steve Lofton and Roger Croteau are challenging a state law that bans gays from adopting children. O'Donnell, who has a home near Miami and briefly was a foster parent to a Florida toddler, is helping in their fight, People magazine reports in its March 18 issue. She's expected to take part in an American Civil Liberties Union campaign this month.

"I think that Rosie will help people understand that gay parenting is not a bad thing," Croteau told the magazine. He and Lofton are parents to five foster children they want to adopt, ages 5 to 14, for whom O'Donnell threw a pizza party at her Manhattan offices last month.

O'Donnell, 39, has three adopted children: Parker, 6; Chelsea, 4; and Blake, 2. She's raising them with her longtime girlfriend, 34-year-old Kelli Carpenter, in Nyack, N.Y.

Lucy-Desi Museum to expand

Jamestown, N.Y. � Lucie Arnaz, daughter of the late comedian Lucille Ball and actor Desi Arnaz, is planning a bigger museum dedicated to her parents.

Arnaz said Thursday she planned to leave their memorabilia in Jamestown, 58 miles south of Buffalo. She said a new nonprofit group headed by her and her brother, Desi Arnaz Jr., will take over operation of the Lucy-Desi Museum, with plans to open a larger museum in the next few years, possibly with a theater attached.

The storefront museum opened in 1996.

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