With love from both of us

After folks in the small town of Anthon in western Iowa exchanged Christmas presents Saturday, they all agreed that none quite compared to the gift given by Richard Hamann and his wife, Donna. The retired farming couple dug deep and came up with $25,000 ... with which they paid the December electric bill of every business and resident, some of whom needed the helping hand. The bills just happened to be due by the 25th. "I haven't talked to anyone who didn't appreciate it," one store employee said. "It was a wonderful thing ... to do." The obvious question: Why? Well, said Richard: "The Lord has been very good to us, and so have the people of this community. So [we] thought we ought to be doing something in return if we could."

Entertainment industry's top newsmaker: Britney

By almost any measure, you'd have to say that pop star Britney Spears has had an eventful year. For starters, she married, not just once, but twice. She also released an album of her greatest hits, but had to cancel two different sets of concert appearances, one of which was to have been a 36-city summer tour - the latter because of an injury sustained while taping a video. So it's not surprising that "Access Hollywood," the TV series on the entertainment industry, has ranked her as its top star for 2004, based on the number of reports it has aired on her. Not necessarily with her alone in mind, the show's executive producer said: "Here's to more can't-miss moments in 2005." The entertainers ranked by "Access Hollywood" as its top 10 this year, and the number of stories on each:

1. Britney Spears 119
2. Beyoncé Knowles 102
3. Donald Trump 94
4. Michael Jackson 84
5. Tom Cruise 72
6. Jessica Simpson 69
7. Paris Hilton 63
8. Nicole Kidman 62
9. Jennifer Lopez 54
10. Whitney Houston 52
- Associated Press

of 5 stories this month > Get unlimited stories
You've read 5 of 5 free stories

Only $1 for your first month.

Get unlimited Monitor journalism.