News In Brief

PLEASE DON'T BE ALARMED

It was to be the pride of the fire department in Charleston, W. Va. - a $1 million, 6,600 square-foot station that would provide protection for a newly developed business district. Except that neither trucks nor ambulances may use the new facility because ... it's in violation of the city's own fire code. Fixing two problems found in the construction isn't expected to cost a whole lot more. But, admitted Capt. Johnny Brotherton, the Charleston fire chief: "It is kind of ironic."

SORRY. HOPE YOU'RE NOT MAD

Speaking of ironies, a Seattle company finally has put a stop to a billing problem that was affecting several hundred of its 17,000 clients. Seanet Corp. now is trying to trace how the goof happened. Beginning Jan. 3, the customers were being charged daily for what's supposed to be a $20-a-month service fee - apparently because of a computer error that may be Y2K-related. At least one client found his bank account overdrawn, through no fault of his own. What does the company do, you ask? It's an Internet provider.

Looking at passengers rated top distraction for drivers

The dangers of talking on a cell phone while behind the wheel of a moving vehicle have been widely chronicled. But they didn't even rank as a major distraction for American drivers in a new study by a White Plains, N.Y.-based auto insurer. The Response Insurance National Driving Habits Survey found that 76 percent of all motorists have engaged in potentially dangerous, distracting behavior in the past six months. The percentage of respondents reporting they'd fallen prey to the following distractions:

Turning head to speak with a passenger 56%

Spilling hot coffee on self 26%

Tapping ashes from lighted smoking materials 22%

Combing or brushing hair 17%

Blowing one's nose 17%

Arguing with a passenger 16%

Applying makeup 10%

Putting in eye drops or contact lenses 3%

- The Washington Post/AP

(c) Copyright 2000. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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