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WHAT A DAY

In August, "Survivor" winner Richard Hatch sued his hometown. Now the city has named a day after him.

Hatch was presented with a commemorative tile and a proclamation on "Honorary Richard Hatch Day" -- Sept. 18, 2000 -- in a ceremony that highlighted the 39-year-old's ingenuity and guile but avoided talk of the litigation.

"You know, only in America can something like this happen," said Ken Cordeiro, a real estate agent who knew Hatch before he became the $1 million winner of the hit CBS show.

Not long after Hatch returned from filming "Survivor," police charged him with second-degree child abuse. Hatch's then 9-year-old son told police his father wrapped his hands around his neck when he tired on a run. Hatch said the boy concocted the story because he was angry about being forced to exercise.

Prosecutors decided last month to drop the charge. Hatch now is seeking unspecified damages from the state Department of Children, Youth and Families. He says the child welfare agency hurt the boy emotionally and damaged their relationship when they removed him from his home. Hatch also is seeking $1 million from Middletown for wrongful arrest and defamation.

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