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Bright & Brief

April 30, 1990

PALM SPRINGS, Calif. (AP) _ Golden tans have been big business in this desert oasis for decades. Now it’s official.

To obtain an official Palm Springs tan, sun worshipers will have to baste themselves with the only line of browning balms bearing city approval.

Starting in May, bottles of Palm Springs Desertan lotions will have a small tag with the sun setting over a cluster of palm trees certifying it is an ″officially licensed product of the City of Palm Springs.″

Competing for precious tourist dollars, city leaders value the name recognition benefits of the endorsement deal.

″Licensing is a double plus for the city,″ said Councilman Tuck Broich. ″It gets our name out in a lot of new ways and it generates revenue for the city.″

Proposals for Palm Springs gourmet potato chips, towels, clothing, dishware, sheets and a board game called Palm Springsopoly also are in the works, officials said.

But celebrity Mayor Sonny Bono does not plant to plug the Desertan products marketed by Greg Ackerman.

″That’s not part of the deal,″ Bono said. ″I’ve got to draw the line somewhere or pretty soon someone will want me to promote something else and then something else and it would just get out of hand.″

Councilman Earl Neel said the licensing deal may generate only about $2,000 a year, but hoped it could launch a trend of endorsements.

Broich acknowledged no one on the council had given Desertan products the poolside test, saying ″I don’t have time to go out and lie in the sun.″

But he said the council insisted that Ackerman carry insurance in case lawsuits were filed against the city by sunbathers unhappy with his products.

″We’re not totally crazy,″ Broich said.


ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) - A new species of termite - a tiny black-winged pest that swarms in summer and hunts for dead wood - has been discovered in this Gulf Coast town.

Rudy Scheffrahn, a termite expert with the University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, calls it ″the biggest termite find in the last 40 years.″

The recently found termite, which is less than an eighth-inch long, is called amitermes floridensis. The relatively harmless creature is half the size and one-fifth the weight of its more robust Florida cousins. And it’s content to gnaw on dead tree branches rather than 2-by-4s.

Scheffrahn doesn’t know yet whether amitermes floridensis is a native St. Petersburg resident or was brought from out of state.

Some 16 termite species are in Florida, and 44 throughout the United States.

″Anytime you find a new species, it’s exciting, because we’ve come to believe there isn’t anything new in the world,″ Scheffrahn said.

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