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April 5, 2019

ARTIST WHO CREATED PAINT-BY-NUMBERS PICTURES DIES

TOLEDO, Ohio (AP) — Family members say an artist who created the first paint-by-numbers pictures and helped turn the kits into an American sensation during the 1950s has died.

Dan Robbins’ son says his father died Monday in Sylvania, Ohio. He was 93.

Robbins came up with the idea for paint-by-numbers photos in the 1940s while working for the Palmer Paint Company in Detroit.

He remembered hearing that Leonardo de Vinci would use numbered backgrounds for his students and decided to try it.

By 1955, the company was selling 20 million kits a year. Sales dropped sharply within a few years.

Some critics mocked the paintings, but they’ve endured as slices of Americana.

The Smithsonian Institution celebrated the paint-by-numbers craze and its impact with a 2001 exhibition at the National Museum of American History.

SEARS TO SET TO OPEN FIRST BATCH OF SMALLER STORES

NEW YORK (AP) — After its journey through bankruptcy, Sears is getting ready to open its first batch of smaller stores focusing on appliances, mattresses and home services.

The first three stores called Sears Home & Life will open Memorial Day weekend. They are a fraction of the size of the company’s traditional stores.

Peter Boutros, chief brand officer for Sears and Kmart, declined to say how many of the stores are in the works but said locations have been identified.

He says the new stores will not take the place of the remaining 425 stores.

The openings come nearly two months after Sears Chairman Eddie Lampert bought the Hoffman Estates, Illinois-based company for $5.2 billion. Lampert is restructuring the business but Sears’ long-term survival remains an open question.

MAN CHARGED WITH CRUELTY, ABANDONMENT OF PET FISH

WILMINGTON, N.C. (AP) — A North Carolina man has been charged with abandoning a pet fish that authorities say he left behind without food when he was evicted.

News outlets report that that New Hanover County Sheriff’s Office arrested 53-year-old Michael Hinson on Wednesday and charged him with one count of abandonment of an animal and three counts of misdemeanor cruelty to animals.

Officials say Hinson was evicted from his Wilmington home last month and left behind an Oscar fish in poor health in a dirty tank. Hinson couldn’t be reached by telephone and court records don’t list an attorney.

The 6-inch fish is being nursed back to health at an aquarium store.

Lt. Jerry Brewer says it’s the county’s first animal cruelty case involving a pet fish, but this “is a life like any dog or cat.”

MEOW HEAR THIS: STUDY SAYS CATS REACT TO SOUND OF THEIR NAME

NEW YORK (AP) — This may not surprise many cat owners, but a new study says cats can respond to the sound of their own names. The researchers said it’s the first experimental evidence that cats can distinguish between words people say.

To test for that, the Japanese researchers had animals listen to a list that included words or names of other cats and ended with the cat’s own name. The crucial question was whether the cats reacted more to their own name than the words they’d heard previously. And on average, they did.

Scientists said it’s because cats have learned to associate the sound of their name with rewards like food or play, or bad things like a trip to the vet. The study was Thursday released by the journal Scientific Reports.