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On the Light Side

January 30, 1988

PENSACOLA BEACH, Fla. (AP) _ Dee Lucas wanted to attract people to this resort community in January, when most people think it’s too cold in the Florida Panhandle to go to the beach.

″And I thought of snow,″ said Ms. Lucas, tourism and events coordinator for the Santa Rosa Island Authority. ″A Snow Fest. That would be different.″

Although it has been years since snow has fallen anywhere in Florida and the weather forecast called for balmy temperatures here in the mid-60s, Ms. Lucas promised sledding, snowman-building and other frosty fun today at Quietwater Beach Boardwalk.

Fifteen tons of man-made snow were being trucked to the beach for the festival, sponsored by the Island Authority and local businesses.

The last time snow fell in the Panhandle was Jan. 14, 1982, but it melted too soon to even be measured, weather records show.

The last time snow fell in sledding quantities was in January 1977, when 2.5 inches accumulated.

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WAURIKA, Okla. (AP) - Mary Gladys Baker’s two Labrador retrievers may well have saved her life by keeping her warm as she lay in near-freezing weather for 15 hours with a broken hip.

So how does the 84-year-old woman reward the dogs, named Little Bit and Scout?

″I give them cookies every night,″ said Mrs. Baker, who returned from the hospital in Wichita Falls, Texas, on Wednesday.

Mrs. Baker, who broke her hip when she fell on the patio of her home on Jan. 11., said the dogs kept her warm by lying next to her until her plight was discovered. She said Scout also brought her a quilt and she pulled it over her head and body.

″I love ’em,″ she said. ″That’s all. And they love me.″

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BLOOMER, Wis. (AP) - City businesses have jumped into the rescue of the World Jump Rope Championships, which faced an uncertain future when the organizer said she would skip out after today’s annual competition.

The Bloomer Chamber of Commerce voted Thursday to take over the event, which once brought nationwide attention to this northwestern Wisconsin city of 3,500.

Cathy Morning announced this year would be her last because she no longer had time to coordinate the 28-year-old event, which attracts about 150 child jumpers primarily from Wisconsin.

″We felt as local businessmen and merchants that it is an important event in our town and we’d like to see it continue,″ Todd Schmidt, chamber secretary, said Friday. ″There are other communities that would like to have this event if it ever did fall by the wayside.″

Signs into the city proclaim Bloomer ″Rope Jump Capital of the World.″ A smiling globe jumping rope adorns Chamber of Commerce stationery.

And people remember when competition founder Wally Mohrman and champion Paul Morning - Mrs. Morning’s brother-in-law - appeared on national television and in national magazines after Morning set a record 72 jumps in 10 seconds in 1979.

″If you ever hear of Bloomer, you’ve heard of jump ropes,″ said Mrs. Morning.

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