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Bright & Brief

February 1, 1989

NORTH ADAMS, Mass. (AP) _ The Internal Revenue Service has again deluged librarians looking for a few income tax forms with crates of thousands of forms they don’t need, don’t want and can’t use.

″The Bible says ‘Ask and you shall receive.’ But this is ridiculous and from the IRS of all things,″ Library Director Lisa Jarisch said Wednesday as another carton of tax forms arrived. The library already had cartons containing about 10,000 supplemental schedules.

Jarisch said she found about 100 of the 1040 forms she had sought in the box. She originally requested about 1,000 each of the most commonly used forms, plus instruction booklets, figuring that would be sufficient for this Berkshire Hills city of 16,000 people.

″It was just a quirk,″ said Robert Ruttenberg, a spokesman for the regional IRS office in Boston, suggesting the problem was the person taking the telephone order misheard the request.

Last year, the boxes kept coming until the library had 48,625 forms, instead of the assortment of 5,000 she had ordered. And in 1987, about 24,000 forms were received in response to a similar request, she said.

″The children’s librarian is already planning origami (Oriental paper folding) classes, and the Conservation Commission may name me the ‘Woman of the Year’ for my regular contributions to the recycling program,″ Jarisch said. The IRS will take back the forms only if the library pays for the shipping, she said, ″and I’m not going to do that.″

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MILWAUKEE (AP) - Edwin J. Konopacki was scanning the obituary section of a newspaper when he found himself among the dear departed.

″Edwin J. Konopacki,″ the notice read, declaring his date of demise as Jan. 27, 1989, his age as 70 and listing his nine surviving brothers and sisters.

″I called the funeral home and said, ’What gives? I may look dead but I’m alive,‴ Konopacki said Tuesday. ″I’m in good health, except I have to take three pills a day for my gout.″

He telephoned the classified advertising department of Journal-Sentinel Inc., publisher of Milwaukee’s two daily newspapers, where the notice appeared Monday.

″He said he saw his death notice in the paper. ... He asked what happened,″ said Anna Bartkowski, telephone sales manager for the department.

The newspaper alerted the funeral home that had placed the death notice in the papers, and the investigation began.

Konopacki said he eventually learned that the case of mistaken identity started when a man collapsed on a South Side street and was taken, unconscious, to Sinai Samaritan Medical Center.

A Medicare card and an insurance company letter addressed to Konopacki were found on the man, Konopacki said, adding that no explanation had been found for why the man had the materials.

A nephew and a woman who was believed to have known Konopacki for a number of years went to the hospital and identified the man as Konopacki. The funeral home placed the death notice at the family’s request, said Richard Anderson, one of the home’s owners.

Authorities have since identified the dead man as Ervin W. Sikorski Sr., 66, of Milwaukee.

Konopacki, a native of Wisconsin Rapids who moved to Milwaukee about 20 years ago to work as a chef, has lived since Jan. 10 at the Salvation Army Emergency Lodge after being victimized by burglaries of his apartments three times in the past two years.

This week’s mix-up made Konopacki a celebrity among residents of the emergency lodge.

Asked Tuesday how Konopacki was faring, director Maureen Martin replied: ″He’s alive and well.″

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