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The day Chris Cornell and Eddie Vedder watched the Seattle Kingdome implosion

Soundgarden frontman Chris Cornell was remembered Friday in a somber memorial service in Los Angeles. A mixture of celebrities and music elite remembered Cornell’s love for his family, and his musical achievements as one of rock’s leading voices.

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In Seattle, fan Lee LeFever recalled a day when Cornell and Pearl Jam frontman Eddie Vedder stood together on a Seattle rooftop as a couple of locals, watching the Kingdome implosion.

It was a Sunday, March 26, 2000. The Kingdome, which was the longtime home of the Seahawks, Mariners, boat shows, rock concerts and the occasional religious gathering, was packed with nearly 6,000 dynamite charges. Thousands crowded together on rooftops and overpasses to get a view of the early-morning implosion.

LeFever had a buddy with a construction job downtown, and he and three friends went there for the rooftop view. There were about 50 people milling around, passing time before the 8:30 a.m. implosion.

Then someone said, “Wait, isn’t that Eddie Vedder over there?”

It was, and he was there with Cornell.

Cornell was one of the first people Vedder met outside his Pearl Jam bandmates after moving here in 1990. For a time, the two were neighbors.

“I had no idea how it would affect my life and my views on music and my views on friendship and what a big impact he would have,” Vedder told a crowd before performing with Cornell in September 2011.

After LeFever's story about the Kingdome implosion day appeared in a Seattle Magazine story by Michael Rietmulder, he was told the two rock stars had the same entertainment lawyer, who had a penthouse in the building, which was the Newmark Tower at 1415 2nd Ave.

LeFever, 43, discovered Pearl Jam and Soundgarden as a college freshman in the fall of 1991. He remembers watching one of the band's videos in which Vedder falls into a crowd during a Moore Theatre concert, and thinking, “Wow, that’s what’s happening in Seattle.”

That was a part of what brought him here in 1998 after graduate school, moving to Capitol Hill from Charleston, South Carolina without a job but in love with the idea of living in the Northwest. He felt at the time there couldn’t be two places further apart in so many ways, “and I loved it,” LeFever said.

On the rooftop, Cornell and Vedder casually mingled, holding coffee mugs.

“They were definitely the only people there that were dressed like rock stars, especially Chris Cornell,” said LeFever, who wore a button-down fleece that morning. “He just had the spiked hair and the tight pants and the sort of look of a rock star. And I think Eddie Vedder at the time and even now has an unmistakable look.

“It was just sort of unbelievable to look up and see these people that you only see in TV and magazines and music videos. But they seemed totally normal and totally at ease.”

LeFever thought about approaching. He hatched a plan: Ask them to take a picture of him with the Space Needle in the background. That would be a pretty simple request, and wouldn’t make it weird.

But “I couldn’t work up the courage to say anything at the time,” he recalled.

And maybe that was best, LeFever said. If the same scene had happened today, 17 years later in the era of smartphones and social media, maybe it would have been a mob scene with everyone wanting selfies. It wouldn’t be the same.

“I’m glad," LeFever said, "that maybe at the time it was a place where they could be safe at home in Seattle among their Seattleites and know that people aren’t going to be too crazy.”

LeFever now writes a blog, Camping on Tuesdays, and co-founded Common Craft, an educational video company, with his wife, Sachi. They live in Seattle with their two dogs, Bosco and Maybe. (Yes, they have a dog named Maybe.)

Information from The Associated Press is included in this report. This story also was updated to correct the Pearl Jam video filmed at the Moore Theatre. 

2 arrested for trying to force alligator to drink beer

Two men who admitted to blowing smoke into a young alligator’s mouth and pouring beer down its throat have been charged with harassing wildlife in Ridgeland, South Carolina.

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State Department of Natural Resources spokeswoman Kyndel McConchie said Friday that 20-year-old Joseph Andrew Floyd Jr. and 21-year-old Zachary Lloyd Brown admitted to officers that they picked up the alligator after they saw it crossing the road.

McConchie said the two Ridgeland men also acknowledged posting photos of their actions on social media.

Authorities said Floyd told officers they released the alligator and watched it swim away in a nearby pond.

The misdemeanor charge of harassing wildlife carries a maximum fine of $300.

George W. Bush poses with Bono at Texas ranch

U2 is currently in the midst of the Texas leg of its tour celebrating the 30th anniversary of “The Joshua Tree,” but frontman Bono took some time off from leading stadiums in singalongs to chat with former U.S. president and Texas governor and current Texas resident George W. Bush.

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 The two met Friday at the Bush family ranch in Crawford to talk about “their shared commitment to saving lives in Africa,” according to Bush’s Instagram feed.

It was no big deal. The two were just chilling on a ranch in Texas, talking about saving the world. That’s not bad for a guy who said he once mistook Bono for Sonny Bono.

Bono and Bush have a history of philanthropic work together. Bono has been an avid supporter of Bush’s President’s Emergency Plan For AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), and has enlisted Bush’s help on another AIDS relief charity, ONE.

That type of philanthropic work is not unusual for Bono. U2 is known for its sociopolitical statements, and its current tour focuses on unity, according to our Statesman music critic.

U2 performs in Dallas tonight.

Grandpa gives granddaughter 2,000 letters for graduation

A Buford, Georgia, high school student will receive a present Friday that has been nearly 18 years in the making, thanks to the teenager’s grandfather and his pens.

The moment John Eades saw his wife hold his little granddaughter, Victoria Eades, he didn’t want the moment to disappear, so he described it in a letter.

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That first letter was written the day Victoria was born, and now there are nearly 2,000.

“I don’t know why, but something told me to write her a letter about how I was feeling,” Eades said.

Now that Victoria is almost 18 and will soon be graduating from Buford High School, she’ll get a diploma and a gift full of memories from toddler to teen.

>> Need something to lift your spirits? Read more uplifting news

“First crush, first heartbreak, those kinds of things,” Eades said.

Eades has all the letters in binders with pictures from different phases of her life on the front. 

Victoria knows her grandpa wrote the letters to her, but she’s never seen them.

Eades said that he could give his granddaughter advice “about love, faith, about integrity -- principles of life.”

He started writing letters for Victoria’s younger sister, who will soon graduate from eighth grade, when she was born as well.

Florida man admits threatening to dismember kidnapping victim while picking up child from school

A Florida man pleaded guilty Friday in federal court on charges he was the ransom negotiator for a group that kidnapped a Spanish man in Venezuela, court documents say.

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At least one of the phone calls took place while Alvaro Jose Delgado Uzcategui, 32, was waiting outside a Fort Myers elementary school to pick up his child, investigators said.

The incident started on Jan. 26, 2016, when a 28-year-old Spanish man was kidnapped in Venezuela.

The next day, the victim’s family in Spain received a phone call from a man with a Fort Myers number who demanded $500,000 for the man’s release, a plea agreement filed Friday said.

“In later conversations, the ransom caller began to threaten dismemberment of (the victim) if (his family) did not come up with the money,” the plea agreement said.

The ransom caller, who was later identified as Uzcategui, made good on the threat a few days later when he called the family again and said a letter was waiting for them at a nearby store.

Inside the letter, the victim’s family made a horrifying discovery.

“(A family member) and his cousin went to the bar and recovered the letter, which contained a finger wrapped in white gauze inside the gauze packaging,” the plea agreement said.

Fingerprint analysis confirmed that the amputated finger belonged to the kidnapping victim, investigators said.

FBI investigators in Florida were able to use the GPS in Uzcategui’s phone to track him to an address in Fort Myers, court documents said.

While surveilling the suspect, agents reported seeing him outside Orange River Elementary School talking on the phone while waiting for school to get out.

Authorities later confirmed that Uzcategui was on the phone with the victim’s family at the time.

He was arrested during an unrelated burglary in Punta Gorda, police said.

While in custody, Uzcategui admitted he made the numerous ransom calls and told agents that he expected to receive a home in Venezuela as compensation for his role in the kidnapping conspiracy, a criminal complaint in the case said.

The victim’s family was ultimately able to secure his release with a $70,000 ransom payment on March 3, 2016.

Uzcategui pleaded guilty Friday to a charge of using interstate communications in support of ransom.

When sentenced at a later date, Uzcategui could face up to 20 years in prison.

Couple accused of locking elderly mother in room, blocking door with furniture

Police say a metro Atlanta couple locked the woman’s 86-year-old mother in her room and used furniture to block the door.

Katie Son and her husband are both charged with cruelty to an elderly person.

Officers say 86-year-old Bong Le managed to escape out a front window. She was found a couple of blocks away, wrapped in a blanket and sitting under a tree. Investigators say she smelled like urine and feces.

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Her daughter and son-in-law, who are now out on bond, said they were just trying to protect her from herself.

Son said “no” when asked if she locked her mother up.

Gwinnett County Police Department said officers found tables, chairs and other items stacked high against the door of the downstairs bedroom in the home.

“It looked quite unusual,” Cpl. Michele Pihera said.

But Son said it was all to keep her mother safe and that when she and her husband went to work each day at a nail salon, her mother couldn’t be trusted alone in the house.

“They told our officers that the reason they had stacked up the furniture was to prevent the mother from going into the kitchen to access the stove or access any kitchen utensils,” Pihera said.

Deputies still have questions.

“It’s very possible they were trying to prevent her from getting into the food or any kind of items to eat,” Pihera said, adding that the state of the room was disturbing.

“They found human feces and what looked like human urine that looked like it had been smeared into the carpet or never even cleaned up,” she said.

She said that, combined with the furniture, led to the arrests.

“You combine the lack of access to food and water and the living conditions and that’s what led our detectives to take out warrants for their arrests,” Pihera said.

Neighbors didn’t want to talk about what happened, but said they recognized Le as the woman who didn’t really have a memory and would get lost easily.

She’s now in a hospital. Her daughter and son-in-law have been ordered not to go near her.

Photos: Stevie Nicks through the years

Students smother beloved security guard with hugs on last day of school

A sweet video shows a beloved security guard saying goodbye to students for the summer.

Most mornings, Jonathan Broadnax waves and greets students and parents at Mount Paran Christian School in Kennesaw Georgia, as he has done for years.

Thursday morning, as he was standing at his post on the last day of school, a group of second-graders swallowed him with hugs as they prepared to leave for summer break.

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The young children wanted to thank Broadnax for keeping them safe every day -- something he has dedicated his life to doing.

Broadnax is an Army veteran who came to work for the Chesley Brown International security company more than a decade ago after a full career in the military.

Chesley Brown CEO Brent Brown said Broadnax was quickly promoted to several positions before becoming the security director assigned to a large, complicated and critical property.

Brown saw a need at Mount Paran, and although it was a much smaller program, he knew Broadnax would be a perfect fit. Brown only planned to keep Broadnax there for a short period of time, to get the program up to standard, but that was years ago.

Broadnax fell in love with Mount Paran and the school members fell in love with him.

He could have retired, but he hasn't.

“He felt he was needed and he cared deeply for the kids that he and his team are responsible for keeping safe,” Brown said. “After the tragic loss of his own adult son, any lesser man would have called it a day and gone home, but he stayed.”

He stayed with the school that has had his back since day one; the school family rallied around him during the rough times after his son's death.

“When his son passed, the school rallied around him. I can't tell you how many parents, teachers and staff thank me for putting Jonathan and his team there,” Brown said.

Broadnax's connection to the community is evident in the special moment captured in the video. Brown said it's a visual representation of the Chesley Brown mission: “To go home every day proud of who we are, what we do and how we do it.”

Brown added that the kids in the video show just how far a simple expression of love can go.

“These kids that made that simple gesture are incredible. They are our future and I'm feeling pretty good about it right now,” he said. 

Investigators: Stolen furnace causes house explosion

Fire officials blame a stolen furnace for a house explosion in Detroit overnight.

The house was vacant, and the owners were cleaning up the property for the next renters, WXYZ reported. The owners changed the locks Wednesday, and the furnace was stolen sometime between Wednesday and early Friday morning.

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The furnace was ripped out of the wall, fire officials said, causing gas to fill the house. It is believed the water heater triggered the explosion.

Neighbors were awakened by the force of the blast. A neighboring property received extensive damage from the blast, WXYZ reported.

No one was injured in the explosion, fire officials said.

BMW recalls 7-series cars because doors unexpectedly open

Luxury car maker BMW is recalling 45,000 of its pinnacle vehicle the 7-series because the doors can unexpectedly open.

The recall affects certain 2005-2008 745i, 745Li, 750i, 750Li, 760i, 760Li and B7 Alpina models equipped with comfort access and soft close automatic options. 

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“The doors may appear to be closed and latched, but, in fact, may inadvertently open,” according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

BMW is working on a repair for the recall.

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