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On The Light Side

June 9, 1988

MENDHAM TOWNSHIP, N.J. (AP) _ Is honesty still the best policy? Only if you talk to the right bureaucrat.

Consider the case of Peter Elia of Mendham Township, who during one recent morning rush found a cashier’s check for $10,000 on the floor of a commuter train station not far from this New York City suburb.

An amazing stroke of luck, but not for Elia, who spent the better part of his day trying to return the check to its owner.

Elia, 36, said he made several calls to Chemical Bank in New York, which had issued the check, but nobody at the bank would take responsibility for finding its owner.

″They switched me to about eight different branches,″ he said. ″Amazingly, one guy even told me how to cash it.″

But Elia perservered, finally taking the check to the New York Post, which contacted Chemical Bank officials.

The bank issued a red-faced apology to Elia, a merchandising manager for Kinney Shoes in Manhattan.

″I certainly extend our apologies to Mr. Elia,″ bank spokesman Kenneth Herz said. ″We very much appreciate what he did.″

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BRATTLEBORO, Vt. (AP) - A man and woman who made it through 48 states on motorcycles in less than seven days said they roared swiftly to their goal - until they hit the East Coast.

″It wasn’t just one traffic jam,″ said Michael Kneebone of Chicago. ″There was road construction, accidents, morning traffic. ... Everywhere we went up the East Coast there were massive accidents and trouble.″

Kneebone and Fran Crane of Santa Cruz, Calif., drove 7,700 miles to Brattleboro from Pendleton, Ore., in six days, 13 hours, 21 minutes, hoping to land in the Guinness Book of World Records.

If Guinness officials confirm the time, it will shave more than four days off the unofficial world record for the feat, and even more from the current record in the Guinness Book.

Kneebone said the trip went very smoothly the first six days, until they reached Baltimore.

″From there on in is where everything fell apart,″ he said.

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GRAND ISLAND, Neb. (AP) - Heidi and Holly Smith didn’t find a pot of gold at the end of a rainbow, but the cousins did find a cache of cash in the trash.

Holly, 13, and Heidi, 10, were helping Holly’s sister-in-law, Kathy Dockweiler, at the Daylight Donuts shop Monday when they stumbled on the cash while dumping a load of garbage.

″I asked Heidi if I was dreaming and she said I probably was,″ Holly said.

The girls brought the money, wet and covered with coffee grounds, inside and Dockweiler helped lay it out to dry.

″It looked like we were counterfeiting money,″ Holly said.

There was little question about the money’s owner: checks were made out to the Daylight Donuts shop and there was a shop invoice among the cash.

Shop manager Klynn Knoll confirmed the trash cash belonged to the store, but wasn’t quite sure how the money - about $380 in cash and $120 in checks - got into the garbage.

″I told them that they ought to be really proud of themselves,″ Knoll said about the money finders. ″They were really honest with it and returned it all.″

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