Arkansas Football Fans Still Sore
Over 1969 Loss to Texas
It was called the game of the century, and because college football is serious business in the Southwest, it may take a while longer for University of Arkansas fans to get over their pain.
In 1969, the No. 2 Razorbacks lost to their rival, the top-ranked University of Texas Longhorns, in a national championship dubbed "The Big Shootout."
It was such a big deal -- President Richard M. Nixon, then-Rep. George H.W. Bush (R-Tex.) and the Rev. Billy Graham were in the stands that day -- that there were grand plans to celebrate the 35th anniversary of the game during the Arkansas-Texas game on Sept. 11. But when Hog fans heard the news, they flooded radio talk shows and Internet message boards to protest.
Arkansas's athletic director, Frank Broyles, who coached the 1969 team, cancelled the anniversary celebration.
"I think the importance of recognizing that game was getting lost in the rivalry," said Kevin Trainor, Arkansas's assistant athletic director. "I'm not advocating our fans would turn ugly, but we didn't want to present a situation that would be anything less than what we wanted it to be originally: a recognition of the game and its significance."
-- Sylvia Moreno
Calif.'s Organic Cemetery Offers
Chance to Dig Loved One's Grave
A trip to the Forever Marin cemetery won't involve arrangements of dyed carnations and faded plastic "Rest in Peace" signs. But it could require a shovel and some elbow grease.
Owners of the San Francisco Bay cemetery, which is scheduled to open later this year, say they are creating the state's first organic cemetery, providing grieving families with a natural alternative to heavily manicured plots. In an attempt to encourage a return to nature, mourners will even have the opportunity to dig their loved one's grave themselves -- if they want to.
A portion of the proceeds from each funeral will be used to maintain the meadows and forests that make up the 32-acre property. Embalming fluid, metal caskets and floral arrangements will be prohibited.
A similar memorial space is in South Carolina.
With marble headstones banned to preserve the natural setting, visitors will be given global positioning devices to ensure they are paying their respects at the right spot. Mourners will be able to view mini-documentaries about their loved ones played on hand-held audio-video units.
"It's not for everyone," said Joe Sehee, one of three managing partners of the project. "It allows people to connect with something bigger than themselves and help heal the land through their own death."
-- Kimberly Edds
A Long-Distance Experience
In the drive for even faster fast food, McDonald's restaurants are outsourcing the manning of the old standby drive-through window with the scratchy speakers.
At the drive-through window of the restaurant in Brainerd, Minn., customers give their orders to a worker at a call center in Colorado who enters it into a computer, causing it to flash on a screen inside the Brainerd restaurant, along with a photo of the customer. The process eliminates the need for workers to juggle taking and preparing orders.
The owner of the Brainerd store, Glenn Cook, was the first one outside Colorado to use the call center, which opened in June 2003. With order times reduced by an average of 20 seconds, he has seen a double-digit percentage increase in sales since September. Less than 1 percent of McDonald's restaurants use one.
"It is a lot faster," said employee Cassie Kangas. "When customers find out about it, they're really surprised. They're like, 'Oh, my gosh, this is someone in Colorado.' "
-- Kari Lydersen
'Ohio Seven' Revolutionary
Paroled to Maine Halfway House
A son of a Maine millworker and a self-styled revolutionary, Raymond Luc Levasseur has been paroled after serving 18 years of a 45-year sentence for a string of bombings of corporate and military offices around New York.
Levasseur was a member of the "Ohio Seven" defendants, all of whom were arrested in 1984 in Cleveland. Levasseur spent seven years on the FBI's Most Wanted List. His group was said to be responsible for 19 bombings and 10 bank robberies over a nine-year period, as well as the murder of a New Jersey state trooper.
Levasseur will live in a halfway house in Portland, Maine, which doesn't please the police. "Am I concerned? Absolutely," Police Chief Michael Chitwood told the Portland Press Herald last week. "This guy has been in prison for 18 years for extremely violent criminal conduct. This guy is truly a revolutionary. They don't like cops."
Levasseur caught the public imagination by moving about the country with fellow revolutionaries. Levasseur, who has posted essays on the Web, called himself in a 1992 piece, quoted in the Press Herald, "one of over 100 prisoners held in the U.S. gulag."
-- Michael Powell