News In Brief

By , Judy Nichols, Noel Paul,and Sara Steindorf

I'M JUST GLAD I COULD HELP

Ryan Cooper was in a hot spot - literally. A fast-moving grass fire was closing in on the teenager and his younger brother, Randall, who were at home alone in Collinsville, Okla., last Thursday. Ryan, who was upstairs, couldn't hear Randall yelling to him to run. But he did hear the louder voice of a stranger who'd come to alert them to the danger. With minutes to spare, country music superstar Garth Brooks and a friend drove the boys to safety through smoke and flames as high as the house. Brooks's in-laws live nearby. The blaze scorched 600 acres but was doused two feet from the Cooper dwelling.

YOU'VE CONFUSED THE ISSUE

Recommended: Could you pass a US citizenship test?

In Charlotte, N.C., an outdoor- advertising agency was making repairs yesterday to a "Gore 2000" billboard along I-485. Repairs: Why? Because, if you haven't seen the news pictures, it featured the smiling face of Gore's Republican rival, Texas Gov. George W. Bush. The boo-boo somehow "slipped past" a proofreader.

New honor for Penn State's Paterno: best football coach

His peers have voted Penn State's Joe Paterno the best head coach in college football. According to results of a survey by the Bloomberg News service, Paterno edged Florida State's Bobby Bowden for the honor. In his 51 years as boss at Penn State, he has won 320 games - four short of the most among major-college mentors. Over that span, his Nittany Lions also have recorded five unbeaten seasons, claimed more bowl victories (20) than any other school, and captured two national championships. The top 10 finishers, their schools, and the votes each received (out of 88 cast):

Joe Paterno, Penn State 20-1/2

Bobby Bowden, Florida State 19

Bill Snyder, Kansas State 12

Frank Beamer, Virginia Tech 10-1/2

Steve Spurrier, Florida 5-1/2

Barry Alvarez, Wisconsin 3

(tie) Gary Barnett, Colorado 3

LaVell Edwards, Brigham Young 2-1/2

Dennis Erickson, Oregon State 2

(tie) Lloyd Carr, Michigan 2

(c) Copyright 2000. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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