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On the Light Side

January 5, 1985

RISINGSUN, Ohio (AP) _ The experiment Roxanne Hammer is proposing in her quest to be the first American school teacher aboard a space shuttle could turn a children’s rhyme into reality - she wants to milk a cow in orbit.

The 27-year-old fifth grade teacher at Lakota Central Elementary School admits the proposal ″might be kind of out the door,″ so she is suggesting an alternate experiment to see whether bees can make honey in weightlessness.

Mrs. Hammer’s students got her interested in applying to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration when they read that President Reagan wants the first non-scientist or non-astronaut on the shuttle to be a teacher.

″The kids said, ’We want to see you go up in space,‴ she said.

Mrs. Hammer, who is completing the lengthy NASA application, said the choice of a teacher ″will be an inspiration for children. After hearing so much about how bad teachers are, they’ll see we aren’t as bad as they say. It will be a real boost for us as teachers.″

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LUFKIN, Texas (AP) - William Joe Kelley wears overalls, a sweat shirt, sells used cars and would like to get married.

The 58-year-old grandfather said he’s gotten ″40 nibbles already″ since he put up a billboard in front of his business on Dec. 31 that says: ″Wife wanted for 1985. Age 40 plus.″

″I’m having a ball,″ Kelley said. ″I’m talking to a lot of interesting people I would not have talked to otherwise.″

He said that since the billboard went up, he’s gotten calls from women in Tennessee, Illinois and cities all over East Texas. Most have approved of Kelley’s methods.

Kelley said he decided on the wife-hunt after a woman he’d been dating for two years declined to marry him.

″She said when the frost was on the pumpkin we would get married,″ he said. ″Well, there’s been frost on the pumpkin, but we still aren’t married.

″I’m a fun guy. At least, I want to be. I’m not rich and don’t want to be. But what I have, I want to share with somebody.″

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LONG BEACH, Calif. (AP) - The California State University here is a long way from foggy London and 221B Baker St., but to a group of English professors, there’s no place like Holmes.

The Center for Sherlock Holmes Studies opened this fall at California State, organized by Arthur Axelrad, a man obsessed with the Victorian detective brought to life in 60 works by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.

Axelrad, an expert in ″Sherlockiana,″ said the center is the only one of its kind in the United States. There are similar centers in London and Toronto.

″There’s a worldwide craze now,″ Axelrad said of Holmes. ″It’s all over. Everyone recognizes him. He’s salable. He’s marketable. I know he’s the only literary character who’s instantly recognizable, and I believe that he’s the only literary character that some people honestly believe is real.″

The English Department here has offered a course in detective fiction for the past 10 years, but that wasn’t enough for Axelrad, who has created the Felonious Commuters, an offshoot of the Baker Street Irregulars in New York City, the nation’s first Holmes society.

″Holmes is probably the most satisfying of all heroes,″ he said. ″Holmes is honest, is always successful. He respects women, family, friends, country.″

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