Names and faces: Bristol Palin a new Phoenix homeowner; Hugh Hefner engaged

Sunday, December 26, 2010; 7:12 PM

Bristol Palin buys a house

After news that Bristol Palin had paid $172,000 in cash for a five-bedroom, brown stucco house in a Phoenix suburb this month emerged from the Arizona Republic on Friday, no one seemed to know why. And a complete mystery was born.

"I'm not sure why she wanted to buy that home, but we are real happy for her," Michael Smith, the seller, told the Republic. "She seems like a nice girl. We're excited for her." No one in the Palin family offered details over the weekend.

As usual, trusty, citing unnamed "friends," came through with at least a plausible theory. The site on Saturday reported that Palin, 20, plans to move to Arizona to attend college, possibly the Arizona State University school of broadcasting, just miles from the house. So that's where things stand for now. No comment from the university, the site reported Sunday.

According to public records and Web sites, Palin is the sole buyer of the 3,900-square-foot house with a tile roof, 2 1/2 baths, a three-car garage and access to a community pool in the Cobblestone Farms development in Maricopa, Ariz. Built in 2006 and originally sold for $329,560, the house went to foreclosure in January. Smith and his wife, Cynthia, from North Dakota, bought the place as an investment in May for $137,200.

Hefner to retie the knot

Twice-married Playboy founder Hugh Hefner thinks it's not too late for a third go-round. In a Saturday Twitter post, Hefner, 84, announced that he and girlfriend Crystal Harris, 24, had gotten engaged on Friday.

"When I gave Crystal the ring, she burst into tears. This is the happiest Christmas weekend in memory," Hefner tweeted. Hefner's first marriage, to Mildred Williams, ended in divorce in 1959. He filed for divorce from his second wife, Kimberley Conrad, in 2009. Harris was the Playboy Playmate of the Month for December 2009.

Tyler Perry saves the day

Christmas came early for an 88-year-old great-grandmother in Georgia this year when Tyler Perry came to town. Rosa Lee Ransby and her 4-year-old great-granddaughter escaped a fire Tuesday that destroyed their home of 40 years in Coweta County, southwest of Atlanta, and all of their belongings. When Coweta County firefighters started soliciting donations, word reached the Atlanta-based Perry, who visited Ransby's neighborhood Thursday and offered to rent her a house for a year, pay for her utilities, buy her furniture and, yes, build her a new house on her property. Said Coweta Fire Chief Todd Moore: Perry's generous offer "made my Christmas."

- Christian Hettinger, from Web and wire reports

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