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Bright and Brief

April 25, 1986

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) _ The long arm of the law has found that speeding motorists like to tickle its funny bone.

The winning entry in the second annual Police League of Indiana’s ″Most Creative Excuse for Speeding Contest″ was submitted by Trooper Marshall Talbert of Kokomo, who claims he once clocked a motorist going 82 mph on Interstate 80.

″I’m only doing what the signs say,″ the humble driver explained when pulled over. He pointing innocently to an I-80 sign and ″tried in vain to convince me he thought this was the speed limit. I told him to tell it to the judge,″ Talbert wrote.

Robert Williams, a past president of the league, said some 50 entries were submitted and voting was tough. Some contenders:

Hammond police officer George Karountzos entered his tale about a woman who claimed she was speeding because she recently switched from regular to premium gasoline. ″In her estimation, her vehicle was running quicker,″ he said.

Plainfield officer Don Parker nabbed a very apologetic speeder who claimed he was in a hurry to pick up an award. When Parker asked what kind of award, the driver looked him squarely in the eye and said it was from Safe Drivers of America.

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WESTHAVEN, Ill. (AP) - This tiny Chicago suburb decided that Westhaven was not a heavenly name, so it has decided to change it to Orland Hills.

But there’s already one problem - community leaders can’t decide whether the village of 4,000 has any hills.

″It’s not hilly. I wouldn’t call it hilly,″ said Michael Daum, village president of Westhaven, which officially becomes Orland Hills on May 3.

″It’s got a few hills - nah, not really. You’re not going to burn out your transmission in town,″ Daum said in a telephone interview Thursday.

But village Trustee Greg Wachowiak disagreed. ″We’ve got maybe one.″

Wachowiak said the desire for a name changed stemmed from a 1960s scandal in which a village president and a building commissioner were convicted on bribery and extortion charges. News accounts about the village invariably dredged up the past.

″Most of the people felt they were getting a bad rap,″ he said.

Since 1984 residents have bandied about such variations as Orland Terrace, Orland South and Orland View to cash in on the fame of neighboring Orland Park, which expects to draw $600 million in retail sales from its two major shopping malls.

The City Council voted 4-2 for Orland Hills on Wednesday. The next step is changing the insignia on police cars and official stationery.

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PITTSBURG, Calif. (AP) - Edwin Wolf has found out that a Pittsburg by any other name would not smell as sweet to residents of the Pennsylvania city after which it was named - Pittsburgh with an ″h.″

″Let’s just say the phone has been ringing off the hook, and some of the callers have been quite rude,″ said Edwin Wolf, who started a drive to place a name change measure on the November ballot.

The name Pittsburg was adopted in 1912 by a group of transplanted Easterners to honor the huge steel factory on the city’s waterfront. They knocked the ‘h’ out of Pittsburgh to ″be a little different,″ according to Shirley Green, a member of the Pittsburg Historical Society.

Wolf said residents of this San Francisco Bay area city of about 34,000 no longer can identify with Pittsburg’s industrial past and would rather see a name that reflects its boating and mining heritage. He suggested Diamond Landing.

″It’s amazing how this thing has snowballed,″ said Wolf, 27, adding that he has been called by two television stations, four newspapers and three radio stations in the East. He finally installed an answering machine to screen calls.

Wolf already has paid for a newspaper advertisement that said a new name would ″offset the negative impact the name ‘Pittsburg’ brings to the city.″

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