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OK, I'm here. Now what?

"It was amazing," Laci Stokes said of a visitor to Nachitoches, La. "We all got to meet her. She was so nice; she told us she didn't want to rain on our parade." Who is Laci Stokes, and to whom was she referring? Well, that would be Oprah Winfrey, who showed up unannounced in time for last weekend's homecoming festivities at Northwestern State University, over which Stokes presided as queen. Winfrey said she decided to check out the town because a fan from Nachitoches at a taping of her TV show declared: "Everybody [there] loves you. You should come and visit."

There's a majesty in this

The snappy new turbocharged Volvo V70 that police clocked outside Gol, Norway, late last week was doing close to 10 m.p.h. over the speed limit in a restricted zone – a violation that normally carries a first-time fine of $130 for the driver. But in this case, he was sent on his way with a simple request to be a bit more careful the next time. That's because King Harald, under the nation's 1814 Constitution, enjoys immunity from prosecution for any crime or misdemeanor.

If it's farm-fresh, it may well have been raised by women

Because they tend to share duty with husbands, women often fail to be given credit for operating farms, says Mary Peabody, director of the Women's Agricultural Network in Berlin, Vt. But an increasing number of women farmers are going solo, she says. The proportion of female-run farms rose 37 percent nationally in the decade to 1997, according to the US Agriculture Department's most recent survey. The 10 states with the highest percentage of such farms:

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1. New Hampshire 17.6%
2. Alaska 17.3%
3. Hawaii 16.8%
4. Massachusetts 16.6%
5. Rhode Island 15.6%
6. Florida 15.5%
7. Connecticut 15.0%
8. New Jersey 14.9%
9. Nevada 14.3%
10. Oregon 14.1%
– Associated Press

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