Bright & Brief
CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) _ A billboard urging residents of New Jersey to ″Find Yourself In Wyoming″ has drawn protests from some New Jersey third-graders who wrote to Gov. Mike Sullivan, suggesting he mind his own business.
Letters from the third-grade class at James Madison Intermediate School No. 10 in Edison, N.J., ranged from slight annoyance to anger over the billboard at the exit of the Lincoln Tunnel between New Jersey and New York.
″Why did you put that rude billboard up that says ’Find Yourself In Wyoming?‴ asked a student identified as Michael B. ″You have no right to say dump our state and go to Wyoming.″
″We do not want your billboard in our state 3/8″ wrote Kristen Crowley.
Sullivan said he got the idea for the promotion last year while stuck in traffic on the New Jersey side of the tunnel, thinking it would be nice to have a billboard telling motorists ″If you lived in Wyoming, you could be fishing now.″
″If everybody moves to your state, everybody will start having traffic jams there too 3/8″ wrote Asif Halim.
Several students were quick to point out they believed their Garden State has recreational advantages over land-locked Wyoming.
″We are close to the ocean and have fresh and salt water to fish and swim in,″ wrote Megan Ehlers.
″N.J. is near the Poconos (mountains). Wyoming is not. N.J. is near N.Y.C. (New York City). Atlantic City is in N.J.,″ wrote Neil Dalal.
Their teacher, Catherine Pelaia, wrote her own letter to Sullivan, saying she thought he might find the children’s letters amusing, and adding that she had visited Wyoming ″and enjoyed it very much.″
Sullivan wrote back to the students, acknowledging they made some good points but adding: ″We have cowboys and horses, mountains and plains and fewer than a half-million people to enjoy them.″
DURHAM, N.C. (AP) - Pat Bagwell didn’t think she had much chance of winning a Chapel Hill tanning contest, and felt nervous about going on stage, but she parlayed her pigments into a free vacation in the Bahamas next month.
″I’m not an exhibitionist,″ said the legal secretary and mother of three who entered a tanned-legs contest at the urging of friends.
″I was so nervous my legs were shaking,″ she said, recalling standing behind a sheet with other contestants with only their legs showing. ″You feel like an idiot anyway. These women are picking you apart and men are wagging their tongues.″
But Ms. Bagwell won $50 and a membership to the sponsoring nightclub, and decided to go into serious training for a Sept. 9 tan-off that had a Paradise Island prize.
″Then I actively began laying in the sun every minute I could,″ she said.
″It really was a regimen. You have to be devoted to it, I guess,″ she said.
She wasn’t optimistic.
″I’m going against 20-, 21-year-old girls,″ Ms. Bagwell, 37, recalled thinking. ″This is ridiculous. Those young girls have got me beat.″
But after initial stage fright at the main event, she walked toward the judges and the crowd went crazy.
″It was like, ’Here I am, Hollywood,‴ Ms. Bagwell said.
After her November trip, Ms. Bagwell says she’ll retire from the tanning circuit.
As for studies linking skin cancer with overexposure to the sun, Ms. Bagwell says she’s not worried.
″If I’ve got to live in a bubble, I’d just as soon not.″