LAUREL, Md. (AP) _ Eddie Blind, who as head starter for Maryland thoroughbred racing for four decades opened the gates to more than 72,000 races in his career, died Wednesday. He was 90.

Blind started 32 consecutive fields for The Preakness Stakes, which included four Triple Crown winners: Citation, Secretariat, Seattle Slew and Affirmed.

Blind began his career in 1938 at Pimlico, the home of the Preakness in Baltimore, when he was summoned from New York to start Seabiscuit and War Admiral in the legendary Pimlico Special.

After three years in the military during World War II, he became head starter at Pimlico in 1948.

Blind retired in 1980 at age 71.

Bill Davis

ALBANY, Ga. (AP) _ Bill Davis, a newspaper publisher who spiced up the weekly Albany Journal with a mix of feisty commentary and scandal, died Wednesday after suffering a heart attack. He was 78.

The Journal was struggling for readers when Davis bought it in 1950. He pulled readers in with headlines such as ``Mad Dad Orders Castration By Buzz-Saw Of Child's Lover'' and ``7-Year Itch; When Trust Turns to Lust.''

A native of New York's Brooklyn borough, Davis flew 34 combat missions as an Army Air Corps flight officer during World War II. In 1994, when flooding hit Albany and virtually destroyed Davis' house, he kept publishing the paper.

Joan Erikson

HARWICH, Mass. (AP) _ Joan Erikson, who helped refine the prevailing psychological view of human development through a six-decade collaboration with her husband, Erik Erikson, died Sunday. She was 95.

Officially it was her husband, a Harvard University professor, who theorized that life could be divided into eight distinct stages of psychosocial development. But he repeatedly credited his wife with helping work out the details of their theory, which broadened Freud's biology-based stages to embrace social context and extend the cycles into adulthood.

After his death in 1994, she continued their work, using his notes and her own ideas to add a ninth developmental stage.

Her books include ``The Universal Bead,'' ``Activity, Recovery and Growth,'' and ``Wisdom and the Senses.''

Lester W. Pullen

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. (AP) _ Lester W. Pullen, former chairman and chief executive officer of R.J. Reynolds International, died July 30. He was 68. No cause of death was given.

Pullen joined RJRI in 1967 as marketing manager for Europe. In January 1982, Pullen was elected president and chief executive officer of RJRI. He was named chairman and CEO of the RJRI unit in July 1986. He retired from the company in December 1989.

Under Pullen's direction, RJRI marketed more than 60 cigarette brands in 160 countries and territories around the world. During his tenure as chief executive, RJRI reorganized its management structure and and established new manufacturing facilities in the Canary Islands and Hong Kong.

He was instrumental in negotiating an agreement with the Chinese government to manufacture Camel cigarettes in Xiamen, making them the first American cigarette brand manufactured in China.

RJRI, with its headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland, is one of the largest international tobacco companies in the world. Its best-known global brands are Camel, Winston and Salem.

Alvin H. Ricken

POCATELLO, Idaho (AP) _ Alvin H. Ricken, publisher of the Idaho State Journal for 25 years until his retirement in 1992, died Wednesday following a long illness. He was 75.

Ricken joined the Journal's advertising staff in 1951 and later was advertising manager at a Kalispell, Mont., newspaper. He returned to Pocatello in 1952 and became Journal advertising manager in 1958.

Ricken was named Journal publisher in January 1966 after serving as publisher of the Havre Daily News in Montana for three years.

The Idaho Newspaper Association named Ricken a master publisher in 1984. He also served as president of Idaho Allied Dailies.

Ricken also served on the boards of the Governor's Business Council, the Eastern Idaho Development Corp. and the ISU Business and Research Park.

While serving with the Idaho Division of Economic and Community Affairs, he helped establish the Idaho Bureau of Tourism.

Survivors include his wife, Tommy Lou; three sons, two daughters and several grandchildren.