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Bright & Brief

February 5, 1985

FREMONT, Neb. (AP) _ Not many people get to own an entire town, but teacher-canoe outfitter Lou Christiansen and his wife Janet plan to do just that, even if it is a bit small.

The Christiansens have agreed to purchase the north-central Nebraska town of Sparks and use it as a base for canoe trips on the nearby Niobrara River and summer camp operations, he said. As part of the deal, they are trading their Fremont house for the house of Sparks owners and sole residents Waldo and Nadine Simons.

″We haven’t signed any papers yet,″ Simons said. ″Everything is on a handshake.″

The Simons operate a general store, post office and two gasoline pumps - the only businesses in Sparks. The town near the South Dakota border also includes their house (the only one in town), five out-buildings, plus 10 acres.

Simons, 63, said the town’s population once peaked at 11 - himself, his parents and his eight siblings.


CHICAGO (AP) - Chocolate-starved weight watchers are practically beating down the doors of a Midwest beverage company that makes a diet soda that tastes like chocolate fudge but has only two calories per serving.

″We make 1,200 cans a minute. We’ve been running double shifts. We still can’t keep up with demand,″ said Alan Canfield, senior vice president of Canfield’s Beverage Co., which serves Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Wisconsin and Iowa.

″In nine days we sold 1.5 million cans,″ He said. ″Now, we’re way over 2 million cans in three weeks.″

That’s twice the amount of Diet Chocolate Fudge Soda sold in ALL of 1984.

Canfield said that recently a worker driving a company car was stopped by a police officer who said: ″I’m not going to give you a ticket. Just tell me where I can buy it (the soda).″

The increased demand is largely the result of a few good words in a recent column by Bob Greene of the Chicago Tribune, who said he used the Nutrasweet- sweetened soda in his diet.

Canfield said he recently stopped at his neighborhood grocery to help put cans of the soda on display, but ″by the time I got to the beverage section, there was a trail of people behind me.

″Before I got it on the shelf, it was all gone.″


LANSING, Mich. (AP) - Forget sending your love a card this Valentine’s Day. For $25, you can star in a video greeting complete with romantic music and you posing in a bubble bath.

The high-tech love notes are the brainchild of a Michigan State University student fed up with commercial cards featuring pictures of other people.

″I was tired of seeing other people in my greeting cards. There would be two people embracing that I didn’t even know, and those trite phrases,″ said Jerry Evanski, 21, a music student.

Evanski’s company, Multi-Vision Video Productions, supplies a choice of four scenes, including a rainbow backdrop and a fireside chat scene with an easy chair in front of a brick wall.

Most popular with women, says Evanski, is a bathtub full of soapy suds.

The other scene is a dungeon, equipped with a desk and books, for the ″hard work at school″ valentine for students’ parents, he said.


SAN FRANCISCO (AP) - Just in time for Valentine’s Day, a 230-pound male gorilla is being shipped to Ohio on Wednesday to turn his charms on Colo, Toni and Cora.

It’s nothing so romantic as Cupid’s arrow. The match was made by a computerized dating service for endangered zoo animals.

Sunshine the gorilla is ″prime breeding potential,″ said San Francisco Zoo zoologist Mike Sulak.

Sunshine, 11, will be sent to the Columbus Zoo as part of the Species Survival Plan, in which zoos across the country lend animals to propagate rare species.

Sunshine will be the king of Columbus’ new gorilla palace, complete with waterfall, playroom and closed-circuit television, Dianna Frisch of the Columbus Zoo said Monday.

Under terms of the agreement, the Columbus Zoo must give the San Francisco Zoo every second baby gorilla fathered by Sunshine.

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