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Bright & Brief

December 12, 1987

ALTON, Ill. (AP) _ The federal government mistakenly sent the local school district a document titled, ″ANTITANK WEAPONS: Current and Future Capabilities,″ so Superintendent David VanWinkle fought fire with fire.

″When you start getting into this and start reading the Pentagonese it could get a little bit humorous,″ VanWinkle said. The unclassified report was written ″in typical military.″

He responded with a tongue-in-cheek letter, entitled: ″School Curriculum Response Analysis of Proposal or SCRAP 87-1,″ on Nov. 4 to Sen. William Proxmire, D-Wis., who issues ″Golden Fleece Awards″ for wasteful government spending.

VanWinkle wrote that the English department had attempted to apply the Department of Defense terminology in its literature classes.

″However, Tolstoy’s classic ‘War and Peace’ loses something with the new title ‘Degraded and Benign Environments,‴ his letter said. ″And, certainly Arthur Miller’s ‘Attrition of a Salesman’ may have less impact.″

He added that the Physics department was excited about examining ″kinetic energy warheads until the high school principal became alarmed about the likelihood of staff attrition due to suppressive counterfire from students in Saturday morning detention.″

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FAIRFIELD, Conn. (AP) - Esther Rondeau and Cece Sheppard know all about coincidence and what can go wrong with look-alike cars.

Ms. Sheppard said the car where she stashed her $400 worth of Christmas gifts before returning to the store for more packages last week resembled hers in every way: a blue Nissan Sentra, with a broken button on the hatchback that you have ″to jiggle to get it open.″

But when she returned to the parking lot, the car was gone.

Mrs. Rondeau said Friday she wondered about unfamilar shopping bags in her car trunk Tuesday, but assumed they either belonged to her daughters, who frequently use the car, or were donations intended for a charity organization.

Ms. Sheppard’s misfortune was publicized around town.

″We even talked about it at home,″ Mrs. Rondeau said of Ms. Sheppard’s plight. ″I felt awful for her but it never occurred to me that it was me.″

Then she talked to her daughters Friday and finally ″put two and two together,″ said Mrs. Rondeau’s husband, Arthur.

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