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On The Light Side

March 26, 1988

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (AP) _ Jack Paladino is going all the way to Iowa for people to pump gas and check oil at the Exxon station he manages in affluent Greenwich, Conn.

″We just can’t find anybody to pump gas out here,″ Paladino said in a telephone interview from Greenwich this week. ″We already have three or four people from Iowa,″ and he’s advertising in Iowa newspapers for more.

This weekend, an employee of Paladino’s will be in Iowa City and Cedar Rapids to interview some of the 50 people who have submitted job applications in response to the ads.

The process already has led to a job for Tony Moran of Van Horne, who replied several weeks ago to an ad in The Cedar Rapids Gazette.

The ad promised terms unheard of for similar work in Iowa: ″We offer $305 a week, free housing and benefits, plus free flight out.″

This seeming generosity, Paladino explained, stems from a severe shortage of people willing to take service jobs in the high-income Greenwich area.

″It’s so bad here that the fast-food places have vans so they can bus people out here from New York City,″ he said. Some of those jobs pay $6 to $8 an hour.

Because of the labor shortage, Paladino placed newspaper ads in upstate New York, Pennsylvania and Iowa, where he’d heard unemployment rates were high.

″We’ve had better response from Iowa,″ he said.

Moran, 20, is enthusiastic about his new job.

″It’s working out great here,″ he said. ″It’s everything I expected. I was excited by the idea of living close to New York, I like the idea of working with cars, I like the pay. I like the apartment.″


IRVINE, Calif. (AP) - California cockroach catchers are beating the bushes in search of big bugs and big bucks.

The owner of the largest cockroach - unsquashed - gets a shot at a $500 prize and the national championship, which offers the winner a $1,000 prize.

″We’re looking for the largest one from the tip of his head to the end of his body. Feelers don’t count,″ said Nancy Dunvant, executive secretary of Western Exterminators Co. of Irvine, local sponsor of the contest.

The biggest bug in the region will compete against cockroaches from six other regions in the second annual Great American Roach-Off.

This year’s cockroach colossus will be chosen in June by judges meeting in New York.

In California and Arizona, Western Exterminator will begin accepting entries April 1, Ms. Dunvant said. Judging will be assisted by a University of California, Riverside, roach expert.

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