PENSACOLA BEACH, Fla. – The timing might be a bit off for tourists hoping to waste away in Margaritaville. But that doesn’t bother Jimmy Buffett.

The singer — whose tunes are as much a part of life in this beach town as fried grouper sandwiches, Land Shark beer and the Navy’s Blue Angels — plans to open the 162-room Margaritaville Hotel in a week.

As tar balls came ashore Saturday from an oil plume shooting out of the floor of the Gulf of Mexico, Buffett said he had no plans to delay the opening.

“This will pass,” he said as he walked along the city’s beachfront and fishing pier with Florida Gov. Charlie Crist.

Curious beachgoers mobbed the duo in a frenzy rarely seen on the normally laid-back beach, snapping cell phone pictures and laughing as Crist and Buffett spent about an hour doing interviews and talking.

Buffett told fans he often went to Pensacola Beach while growing up nearby in Alabama. He said his favorite memories are of sunsets in the fall. He joked that he also enjoys the sunrises — but usually sleeps through them.

Buffet said the community will get through the crisis by pulling together. He said he wants people in the area to know that he’s there for them as the oil encroaches on their leisure and livelihoods.

If Buffett’s good for anything, it’s “helping people forget their troubles for a couple of hours,” the “Cheeseburger in Paradise” singer said.

Buffett’s $50 million hotel sits on the Gulf near the main section of Pensacola Beach. Hundreds of applicants lined up outside last week for a job fair even as television trucks filled a nearby parking lot to report on the oil slick’s arrival.

Actor Crawford charged with pot possession

PLANO, Texas  — Texas authorities say “Gossip Girl” heartthrob Chace Crawford faces a marijuana possession charge in the Dallas suburb of Plano.

Police said Crawford was arrested in a parked vehicle early Friday. He was booked and released on a misdemeanor charge of possessing less than two ounces of marijuana.

The 24-year-old actor plays hunky Nate Archibald on the CW teen drama. People magazine listed Crawford as its hottest bachelor of last summer. He also was named last year’s Teen Choice Awards winner for actor in a TV drama.

Rush Limbaugh gets married

PALM BEACH, Fla. — Conservative talk radio king Rush Limbaugh is getting married for a fourth time – and Elton John will sing at the reception.

The Palm Beach Post reported that the 59-year-old Limbaugh was scheduled to get married Saturday night to 33-year-old Kathryn Rogers in a Hawaiian-themed affair. About 400 people were expected to attend at the swank Breakers Hotel.

The Post said Limbaugh and Rogers met six years ago when he played in a celebrity golf tournament she ran. He was divorcing his third wife at the time. They became a couple three years ago.

She persuaded him to go on a diet and he lost 100 pounds.

Murder suspect put on display

LIMA, Peru — The lone suspect in the disappearance of U.S. teenager Natalee Holloway was paraded before reporters Saturday as Peruvians denounced him and detectives began interrogating him about the murder of a Lima student.

Joran van der Sloot arrived at criminal police headquarters in an Interpol SUV and was escorted across an auditorium of shouting, shutter-snapping journalists three times.

Wearing a green bulletproof vest, his hands cuffed behind him, the husky 22-year-old didn’t respond to reporters’ questions or make eye contact.

Outside, seven Indian shamans in brightly colored ponchos repeatedly stabbed a cloth doll representing van der Sloot in a “spiritual punishment” ritual.

“We’re punishing him so that all the forces of evil are purged,” one shouted.


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