By refusing to talk about his separation from his wife, Governor Bill Owens has kept the rumor mill grinding away 24/7 -- and what a wonderfully voluminous gusher of gossip it's produced. Among the most prevalent whispers, none of which are supported by the slightest evidence: Owens is or was having an affair with a campaign aide from his first race for governor, his earlier race for state treasurer, an attorney in the governor's office, an intern in the governor's office and/or a principal at a local school, and these relationships led to an abortion or the birth of either one or two children who range in age from newborn to early teens. Or he is or was having an affair with a university president of the same sex, resulting in no illegitimate births. Seldom has someone's decision to keep his mouth shut resulted in so much chatter for such an extended period of time. In these hard economic times, it's definitely a growth industry.