Hey, wouldn't it be a nice gesture, residents of Pawtucket, R.I., thought, to send a gift of a giant Mr. Potato Head to their sister city in England? Well, no, not for the folks in Belper, it wouldn't. In fact, they don't like "this horrible thing" at all, and don't wish to have to look at it again. Mr. Potato Head, a whimsical plastic character into which arms, feet, and facial features can be inserted, was invented in Pawtucket and later was featured in the popular "Toy Story" movies. Alas, the $8,700, seven-foot-tall version sent to Belper already has been exiled from the center of town to a playground, and is due for at least one additional move.


When you think of Dubai - if you ever do - what comes to mind? Probably not apartment dwellers drying clothes on their balconies, right? Yet, the municipal council there has just outlawed the practice, because it spoils "the public cleanliness and good image" of the city. Oh, yes, and satellite dishes are out, too.

Northwest cities earn top marks for being kid-friendly

Portland, Ore., and Seattle are the best major US cities in which to raise children, according to the annual report card by the environmental organization Zero Population Growth. Its 239-city study weighs such factors as community life, public safety, access to healthcare, economics, the environment, and education quality. An A-plus also went to Burlington, Vt., although it was not ranked among major cities. C-minus grades, the lowest, went to Atlanta and San Bernardino, Calif. The highest-ranked major cities and their grades, according to Zero Population Growth's study.

Portland, Ore. A-plus

Seattle A-plus

Minneapolis A

New York A

San Francisco A-minus

Boston A-minus

Denver A-minus

Fort Worth, Texas B-plus

Houston B-plus

San Diego B-plus

- US Newswire

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