NAMES & FACES
Palin's Last Word
In the wee hours of 2008, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin wanted everyone to know that both daughter Bristol and her fiance, Levi Johnston, parents of Palin's new grandson, Tripp, are not high school dropouts. "You need to know that both Levi and Bristol are working their butts off to parent and going to school and working at the same time," the former Republican vice presidential nominee told People magazine in a phone message on New Year's Eve. "They are certainly not high school dropouts."
Palin was also in touch with the Associated Press and the Anchorage Daily News to complain about what she said were erroneous reports that Johnston had dropped out of school. The source of those reports? Possibly Levi himself. In October, the Associated Press interviewed Johnston and reported that he had left school to work as an apprentice electrician. Palin issued a statement Wednesday clarifying that Johnston is "continuing his online high school work" while he does the apprentice thing.
According to Palin, People reported, any implication that the couple will not graduate from high school "harms Bristol's reputation and Levi's reputation and their chances for good work opportunities." Bristol and Johnston, both 18, have said they plan to wed.
Next Time, Use the Safe
Queen Latifah has been unceremoniously relieved of quite a bit of bling, MSNBC reports. While vacationing on the southern Caribbean island of Tobago, the Academy Award-nominated singer-actress reported the theft of $10,000 worth of jewelry from her $1,000-a-night luxury villa. "Investigators said the larceny seems to be an inside job," acting police commissioner James Philbert said. Latifah said that the missing jewelry -- two gold rings, a silver ring and a gold chain -- has sentimental value, and that she may offer a reward. An unnamed member of Latifah's entourage has been implicated in the crime.
Former Led Zeppelin frontman Robert Plant has been named a Commander of the British Empire by Queen Elizabeth II, E! Online reports. The blond, plaintive-voiced singer is now only one step away from knighthood. Plant, 60, has heretofore resisted former band mate Jimmy Page's attempts to orchestrate another Led Zeppelin reunion in favor of an ongoing collaboration with Illinois bluegrass artist Alison Krauss.
Married: American Idol contestant Gina Glocksen, 24, and schoolteacher Joe Ruzicka, 32, People reports. Glocksen, a Top Ten finalist of "Idol's" sixth season, met Ruzicka when she auditioned for his band in 2005.
Cleared: "Hairspray" star Nikki Blonsky and "America's Next Top Model" contestant Bianca Golden, of assault charges, Us magazine reports. A brawl allegedly sparked by a luggage dispute erupted among the stars and numerous members of their families in the Caribbean's Providenciales International Airport in July. Carl Blonsky, Nikki's father, still faces charges for assault and inflicting grievous bodily harm.
-- Justin Moyer, from wire and Web reports