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Bright & Brief

August 10, 1987

CINCINNATI (AP) _ Some people won’t go anywhere near roller coasters, but Don Helbig is out to set a record in the category of most rides on the same one.

On Aug. 12, Helbig plans to take his 7,000th ride on the Racer, one of six roller coasters at the Kings Island amusement park 20 miles north of Cincinnati. He’s been riding the Racer since 1981.

″Actually, when people think I’m a really big roller-coaster fanatic, that’s the only ride I’d try that on,″ said Helbig, 24. ″I think the kids that work on the Racer have a lot to do with this, too. They’re really entertaining and fun. It’d get a little boring, otherwise.″

Helbig’s devotion to the wooden Racer, averaging 15 to 16 rides a day five days a week, has made him a familiar sight for Kings Island employees. He’s also ridden the park’s Beast roller coaster at least 1,000 times.

″He’s a little crazy, but we love him,″ said Ruth Voss, manager of public relations for Kings Island.

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LEBANON, Ore. (AP) - Police officers are passing out coupons for free McDonald’s hamburgers as rewards for youngsters they see walking their bikes or carrying their skateboards through downtown Lebanon.

Although the riders are only obeying a city ordinance that bans skateboards and bikes on city sidewalks, police Sgt. Dan Chilson said, ″We figured that if we’re going to cite kids for disobeying the law, let’s reward a few kids who are doing the right thing.″

Last month, the department handed out nine citations and at least 50 written and verbal warnings.

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LOS ANGELES (AP) - The nation’s Bozos are getting old, and it’s time for a new generation of clowns to take over, says Larry Harmon, who created Bozo the clown for television in the 1950s and licenses the character.

More than 350 people - from a Marine colonel to doctors, architects, disc jockeys and an undertaker - have applied to Larry Harmon Pictures Corp. for 10 positions. Most say they’re willing to quit their current jobs and even relocate to other parts of the country to be a Bozo.

″What we are doing now is replenishing the troops,″ says Harmon spokesman Jerry Digney. ″Many spent their whole careers as Bozos. We need a new crop of talent.″

There are 25 licensed Bozos working in the United States, either as TV show hosts or making public appearances, down from a peak of 150.

″It takes a special quality to be a Bozo,″ Harmon says. ″There is a certain compassion, understanding ... You have to be able to touch other human beings.″

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