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Bright & Brief

January 3, 1989

MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (AP) _ Five cents won’t get you a cup of coffee at Wilson Cain’s coffee shop anymore, but patrons of the Southside Pharmacy Coffee Shoppe have been over- tipping for 25 years anyway, Cain says.

Cain raised the price of his coffee to 50 cents a cup on Monday.

″I have given you coffee for 25 years at five cents a cup. Due to inflation, it’s time to start paying for coffee. The new 25-year price will be 50 cents,″ Cain told customers in a sign posted behind the cash register.

″I swore I’d never do it,″ said Cain, who’s also a city councilman. ″It’s the clientele I’ve got that looks at me and says ‘Hey, your coffee is too cheap.’ They forced me. Most of them would leave a tip that was greater than the cost of the coffee.″

Customer Rebecca Looney agreed that the price hike was justified. ″It’s just paying for all the cups I drank before,″ she said.

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EL PASO, Texas (AP) - A fierce legal battle is shaping up in El Paso County’s courthouse - not between litigants, but between two district judges who covet the same courtroom.

One judge got so steamed up Monday that he threatened to hold court under a tree to make his point - and this desert city is not known for an abundance of trees.

The gavel started to fall Friday, when newly elected District Judge Jose Troche went home thinking his papers, books and other property were stowed safely in the sixth-floor office of his predecessor, Ward Koehler.

One of Koehler’s last acts as district judge was to decree that Troche would get his old office and courtroom. The one-page order was posted on the office door Friday.

But Monday morning, Troche got a rude surprise - in place of Koehler’s order was the nameplate of Koehler’s former political rival, Judge Peter Peca Jr. Some of Troche’s files and papers had been stacked on a table in a jury room down the hall; others were stashed in Peca’s former second-floor office, and even in a trash can.

Troche and Koehler were outraged.

″Judge Peca has resorted to some awfully highhanded tactics to try to take over the courtroom,″ said Koehler.

Peca, on the other hand, considers the courtroom his due. El Paso has 11 district judges and 10 courtrooms. For the past two years, Peca had been like a loser at a game of musical chairs, banging his gavel in whichever courtroom happened to be free. Now, he said, he has seniority.

″Troche is a new judge,″ he said. ″He can take his turn without a courtroom.″

Troche has asked county commissioners to intervene in his behalf. In the meantime, he’s scheduled a plea in the disputed courtroom.

″We’re going to take the plea,″ he said. ″Even if we have to do it under a tree someplace, we’re going to do it.″

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