METROPOLIS, Ill. (AP) – Residents in the southern Illinois town that shares its name with Superman’s adopted city have joined the rest of the country in mourning the death of actor Christopher Reeve.

Reeve, who was a quadriplegic for the last nine years after a 1995 horse-riding accident, died Sunday at the age of 52.

Metropolis hosts a festival every year dedicated to the comic-book hero. Organizers started the festival 25 years ago to draw more tourists to the area. Jim Hambrick, owner of the Super Museum and Souvenir Store, said he was shocked when he heard the news of Reeve’s death.

“He’s been able to overcome so much,” Hambrick said Monday, noting that he has received more than 150 messages on his Web site.

“When anything happens to Superman, everybody wants to know what Metropolis thinks,” he said. “Christopher Reeve has a lot of fans.”

Judy Duckworth, a technician at Metropolis drugs, said Reeve was an inspiration.

“I was very sad,” she said. “On the TV, they’re talking about stem cell research. He has gotten a lot of attention to this that I think people will carry on.”

EUGENE, Ore. (AP) – The signs marking High Street have become a hot commodity and coveted dorm room decoration in these parts.

But what might seem like a sophomore prank is turning into a costly problem for the city, home to the University of Oregon. In the last decade, officials say they’ve had to replace the sign nearly 350 times.

Besides High Street, the University Street and Westward Ho Avenue signs are also frequently stolen.

The missing street markers are part of a backlog of about 100 signs that city crews will replace in coming months, said Damon Joyner, traffic technical team supervisor for the city.

“Sometimes they’re hit by vehicles. Sometimes, they just seem to disappear,” he said. “We’ve had instances of people just taking a chain saw to the post.”

Officials said last year alone, Eugene spent more than $50,000 on replacement signs.

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) – A man who landed parts of a sculpture mistakenly put up for auction is still at odds with the city, which wants them back.

The base plate and a 17-inch section of the stainless steel sculpture by James Rosati were sold to Matthew Cuellar at the auction of surplus items on Oct. 2.

“The city doesn’t want to negotiate in any way, shape or form,” said Cuellar, 30. “They said if I don’t give it back to them for their price, plus a little bit for my time, they are just going to put (the rest of the sculpture) on the shelf and forget about it.”

Joe Lang, assistant city attorney, said officials were still considering what to do.

The sculpture, “Upright Form V,” was donated to the city in the early 1990s. It formerly was located near the Willowbend Golf Club, but had been in storage. While it hasn’t been appraised, estimates have placed the sculpture’s value at between $7,000 and $30,000.

Cuellar, who paid $45 for the two pieces, has said he will sell them back to the city for one-third of the sculpture’s true value.

Cuellar said he also found two more pieces of the same nine-foot tall sculpture at the auction and bid $230 for them. But when he tried to pay for them, city employees discovered the mistake and refused to release them. Cuellar wants the city to release those pieces to him as well.

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