West Virginia state Sen. George (Buffy) Warner believes the Legislature should work nonstop until lawmakers agree on a budget. To prove his point, Warner, 35, has vowed to hold himself hostage in the red-carpeted, marble-lined chamber in Charleston, without a shower or change of clothing, not budging until the budget does. "I'm pretty comfortable," Warner said after spending the night in a bedroll on the Senate floor. One lobbyist promised to bring him a cot, and another brought him a bucket of chicken. A small television was propped on his Senate desk, where he watched himself on the 11 o'clock news. The freshman Republican asked staff not to turn on the lights in the chamber at night. "I think it's counterproductive for me to sit in here and burn money," he said.
--More than 100 volunteer builders are hard at it this weekend, converting a Manhattan schoolyard that was an "asphalt desert" into a playground that includes a tree house, a maze, a fire truck, an outdoor classroom and a slide shaped like a cross between an elephant and a dragon. Parents, teachers, pupils and neighbors joined to raise $30,000 and do the project themselves after deciding that a city-funded spruce-up was not enough. "It's like an old-fashioned barn-raising," said Marilyn Savetsky, assistant principal of the public school, P.S. 87. "It's going to be the best playground in New York City because it's what the kids want," said fifth-grader Corey Stoll. Architect Robert Leathers, 45, said he incorporated suggestions from the students and added some ideas of his own: "It's very open, so there are no hiding spaces, and tough. The rubber and chains have to be able to resist a good-sized pocket knife."