October 25, 2009 in Nation/World

In Passing

From Wire Reports
File Associated Press photo

In this Dec. 20, 2007, photo, Shiloh Pepin laughs with her parents in the family’s Maine home.
(Full-size photo)

Shiloh Pepin, had rare condition

Portland, Maine – Shiloh Pepin, a girl who was born with fused legs, a rare condition often called “mermaid syndrome,” and gained a wide following on the Internet and national television, has died. She was 10.

Doctors had predicted she would only survive for days after her birth at the most, but the girl, described by her mother as “a tough little thing,” died at Maine Medical Center on Friday. She had been hospitalized in critical condition for nearly a week.

Being born with “mermaid syndrome,” also known as sirenomelia, meant that the Kennebunkport girl had only one partially working kidney, no lower colon or genital organs and legs fused from the waist down.

Her story was featured recently on “The Oprah Winfrey Show” and other national television programs.

Jack Nelson, D.C. journalist

Bethesda, Md. – Jack Nelson, a Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative reporter who covered the civil rights movement and the Watergate scandal for the Los Angeles Times and was the paper’s Washington bureau chief for 20 years, died Wednesday. Nelson, 80, had pancreatic cancer.

Nelson spent more than 35 years with the Los Angeles Times, stepping down as its chief Washington correspondent in 2001.

Nelson covered presidential administrations from Richard Nixon to Bill Clinton. During the Watergate scandal, he scored an exclusive interview with a security guard for the Nixon re-election campaign who had been involved in the break-in at the headquarters of the Democratic National Committee.

As a reporter with the Atlanta Constitution in 1960, he won the Pulitzer Prize for local reporting for exposing malpractice and other problems at the 12,000-patient state mental hospital in Milledgeville, Ga.

Ray Browne, professor of pop

Toledo, Ohio – Ray Browne, an Ohio university professor who was credited with coining the phrase “popular culture” and pioneering the study of things such as bumper stickers and cartoons, has died. He was 87.

Browne died at his home Thursday, according to his family and officials at Bowling Green State University.

He developed the first academic department devoted to studying what he called the “people’s culture” at Bowling Green in 1973.

Browne wrote and edited more than 70 books on popular culture – including “The Guide to United States Popular Culture,” published in 2001.

Browne said he made a mistake in 1967 when he first used the phrase.

“If I had called it everyday culture or democratic culture, it would not have been so sharply criticized,” he said.

Thoughts and opinions on this story? Click here to comment >>

Get stories like this in a free daily email