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Published: Fri, June 28, 2013 @ 12:00 a.m.

newsmakers

State mulls buying Welk’s home

BISMARCK, N.D.

The State Historical Society of North Dakota is considering buying the boyhood home of Lawrence Welk, though some worry the farmstead may not draw many tourists because most of the famed champagne-music bandleader’s fans have died or will do so soon.

So the organization proposes to use Welk’s home in the tiny town of Strasburg to also highlight the importance of agriculture and the region’s German-Russian heritage.

“Even with the Welk legacy aside, it’s history worth preserving,” said Sen. Robert Erbele, R-Lehr, who successfully fought this year to include funding for the bandleader’s birthplace in the historical society’s budget.

The idea comes two decades after Congress earmarked $500,000 to develop a tourist industry in Strasburg, including a museum of German-Russian heritage to draw visitors to Welk’s birthplace. Embarrassed lawmakers later withdrew the money when the idea was mocked nationally as a symbol of wasteful spending.

Merl Paaverud, director of the historical society, said the agency’s board meets July 12 and may decide whether to spend $100,000 on the six-acre parcel that includes the home where Welk and his seven siblings were born. The property still is owned by Welk’s extended family.

Will.i.am opposes Pharrell trademark

NEW YORK

Will.i.am says a trademark Pharrell’s company tried to register is too similar to his “I AM” trademark.

Will.i.am has owned the “I AM” trademark since 2001. He filed oppositions in March and May against Pharrell’s company, i am OTHER. It launched in 2010.

In a statement Thursday, will.i.am’s attorney Ken Hertz says trademark lawyers for will.i.am and Pharrell “discussed the matter for several months.” He says because of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office’s deadlines, will.i.am “had no choice but to lodge his objection at the time he did.”

Hertz says the lawyers for the musicians first spoke in December.

Pharrell says in a statement he’s “disappointed” and “surprised” by will.i.am’s opposition.

Will.i.am uses “I AM” for a number of his businesses, including his charity foundation I AM ANGEL.

Zach Braff to star in Broadway show

NEW YORK

Zach Braff will make his Broadway debut next year in a musical adaptation of Woody Allen’s crime caper “Bullets Over Broadway.”

The only person who might be more excited than Braff is his dad. Says Braff: “If my father loved two things most, it was Woody Allen movies and Broadway musicals.”

“Bullets Over Broadway” follows a struggling young playwright who is forced to cast a mobster’s talentless girlfriend in his latest drama. Braff will play the hero.

Braff says he’s thrilled to be in the show, and keeps “waking up expecting it to be a dream.”

Five-time Tony Award-winner Susan Stroman will direct and choreograph the production. Performances will start in 2014 at the St. James Theatre.

Wire reports


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