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On the Light Side

February 28, 1990

FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) _ A judge who wants to hold a jail house party is sure the well-heeled will pay $100 each for the chance to slumber in the slammer.

″For one night, we could be operating the largest hotel in the city,″ said Tarrant County Judge Roy English, who proposed a sleep-over party in the 1,400-bed jail at a session Monday of the county Commissioners Court.

The party would show off the new jail, built to ease overcrowding, and raise money for a worthy cause - either a memorial to slain Tarrant County police officers, or a charity such one that helps the homeless, English said.

A jail party in Flint, Mich., in which lavishly dressed guests toasted with champagne and danced in the cells, was lampooned in last year’s film ″Roger and Me.″

English said he hasn’t seen the movie but has heard of jail parties elsewhere.

Sheriff Don Carpenter said he has seen too many jail interiors to pay to get into one, but he likes the idea of showing off the building.

″Everyone wants to know what a jail looks like,″ he said.

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RENO, Nev. (AP) - Weird temperature shifts are cracking open the streets of this former Pony Express station, and the driving is reminiscent of rough rider days.

″It’s the pits. You just literally bounce down the street,″ said Shirel Ames, deli manager at a 7-Eleven.

″We haven’t had any killer potholes where we’ve had to roadblock anything, but it is worse than usual because of the moisture out there and the constant freezing and thawing,″ John Loete, Reno’s maintenance engineer, said Tuesday. ″The 40-degree temperature swings we get each day make the situation worse.″

The worst street blemishes were revealed with the melting of 22 inches of snow that fell in a Feb. 16-17 storm, the heaviest snowfall since 1916.

The asphalt has been loosened and cracked from freezing and thawing that cause expansion and contraction, said Bob Mays, county road superintendent.

Loete said his crews were regularly coming across potholes a foot wide and a few inches deep.

″I’m sure we’ll see some more because right now there’s still a lot of ice out there covering problems up,″ Loete said.

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CLEMSON, S.C. (AP) - Researchers will show the Marx Brothers, The Three Stooges, W.C. Fields and ″I Love Lucy″ to ailing nursing home residents to test the theory that tickling the funny bone can be therapeutic.

Researchers will show about 150 nursing home residents comic films and TV programs to see if humor can reduce requests for non-prescription pain medicine, Fran McGuire, a Clemson University researcher, said this week.

″If this kind of thing is true, it would be a tremendous tool for activity directors″ in nursing homes and other group settings, said McGuire.

A smaller study by Clemson two years ago indicated what appeared to be dramatic decreases in requests for drugs, he said. That could have been the result of chemical changes in the body or the result of reduced stress.

That study found that later comedies didn’t do the trick, said Rosangela Boyd, who showed the films at a nursing home as part of the earlier study.

″They did not find modern comedies, such as ‘Three Men and a Baby,’ to be funny nor did they like any of the films with offensive language,″ she said.

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