WAVERLY, N.Y. (AP) _ This village on the New York-Pennsylvania border is seeking help from a higher authority for its attempt to win economic development help from the state.

No, it's not Gov. Mario Cuomo. It's Pope John Paul II.

Mayor Thomas Mullen, who had asked for an assist from the pope, said he received a letter Wednesday bearing blessings and support.

''I'm just elated,'' Mullen said.

The one-page, typed letter dated Jan. 26 was written by a staff member of the Secretariat of State of the Vatican and said, in part: ''His Holiness is pleased to assure you of his prayers for your intentions.''

Mullen wrote the pope in December asking for his blessing for the village's application for a state economic development zone because the mayor said he knew the pope advocated employee ownership and employee rights.

If Waverly gains the zone classification it will mean tax breaks, state grants and other financial incentives to help attract business and industry.

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MOORHEAD, Minn. (AP) - Three enterprising college students figure they've stepped into something big - the underwear business.

Peter Lambert, Todd Ellinger and John Forkner are selling boxer shorts that feature area college initials on the front of one leg and the school's mascot across the rear.

The three partners are seniors in business administration at Concordia College.

''We feel we learned something in our economics classes,'' said Lambert. ''We feel we're going to take the underwear world by the seat.''

They hope sales of their product, called Brief Concepts, will do as well as similar efforts have on the East Coast. They figure women will buy about 60 percent of the shorts, which cost $10 a pair.

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SMITHTON, Pa. (AP) - People in this part of Pennsylvania are excited about their new, $2.5-million bridge over the Youghiogheny River - even if it does sag a bit.

The steel bridge, which links Smithton and Rostraver south of Pittsburgh, was opened for traffic Thursday by the state after a private engineering firm declared it safe.

''The whole town is excited,'' said Smithton Mayor Oliver Smith. ''Practically everyone has either driven it or walked across it already.''

The former open-grid steel deck bridge, built in 1900, was so deteriorated that the state closed it in October 1985, causing a seven-mile detour. The state had planned to repair the old bridge, but bowed to local pressure to build a new span on the old supports to save time.

When the sag in the rebuilt bridge was noticed, the state hired a private engineering firm, which ruled the bridge was safe and no modifications were needed.

''The buckle is very slight. At the very worst place, it is 2 1/2 inches,'' said Harry Albert, a spokesman for the state Department of Transportation.