New Yorkers Have Sympathy
Pains for Former President
New Yorkers feel his pain.
Former president Bill Clinton's recent quadruple bypass surgery has New Yorkers reporting what doctors are calling "Bill Clinton symptoms." Cardiologists say calls from patients concerned about the state of their ticker have shot up by at least 50 percent, according to the New York Daily News.
Harvey S. Hecht, director of preventive cardiology at Beth Israel Hospital, says Clinton's health woes have high-strung New Yorkers thinking about the physical toll of their fast-paced lives.
"We have people calling saying, 'I don't want to end up like Bill Clinton,' " Hecht said.
Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg (R) said Clinton's blocked arteries should remind New Yorkers to watch their diet and exercise. But as the city recuperates from the recent week-long Republican National Convention, New Yorkers' heart troubles could be a show of party solidarity from this solidly Democratic city.
-- Michelle Garcia
Minn. Court Allows Suspected
Felon on Congressional Ballot
Republican congressional candidate Jack E. Shepard, on the ballot in Tuesday's primary election for the 4th District in Minnesota, is living in Rome.
But if he ends up being elected to represent the district including St. Paul, and comes back to Minnesota to take office, he could be arrested immediately. That's because Shepard is said to be a fugitive. Authorities say he was on parole after a 1979 fourth-degree sexual conduct conviction when he was charged with first-degree arson in 1982 and fled the country, violating his parole. A bench warrant was issued for his arrest.
The Minnesota secretary of state and attorney general tried to keep Shepard's name off the ballot, arguing he is not an eligible voter because he did not complete his probation and, therefore, state law says he can't run for office. But on Wednesday, the state Supreme Court ruled that Shepard meets U.S. constitutional requirements for running for Congress, superseding the state law.
"I think it's just shocking that you could have a fugitive felon on the ballot who would be arrested if he steps foot in this state," said Secretary of State Mary Kiffmeyer. "He's making a mockery of the electoral process."
Shepard, meanwhile, has said that this is a case of mistaken identity and that he is not the man who was convicted.
Kiffmeyer and other state officials don't buy it. "He has the same Social Security number, the same handwriting [as the felon], he is a dentist, he looks the same," she said. "I'd really be interested to see him prove he's someone else."
-- Kari Lydersen
La. College Students Cut Costs
By Borrowing Textbooks
With the fall semester starting, college students all over the country are complaining about textbook prices. Why, one tome can cost $100 or more.
But at Southeastern Louisiana University in Hammond, students are finding relief in a program that has been around since 1935. For $15.75 per semester, students are allowed to rent books from the school. School officials say the program, one of a few of its kind in the country, saves students hundreds of dollars a year. More than 14,000 of Southeastern's 15,400 students rent books.
"It's a wonderful way for them to save money," said Connie Davis, associate director of auxiliary services at the school, about 60 miles north of New Orleans. "The students really appreciate it; they're always telling us that."
Students can buy the books if they choose, and fines for returning the books late or in bad condition help motivate them to take good care of the texts.
"They really abide by the rules, so other students can continue to benefit from the program," Davis said.
-- Kari Lydersen
Hawaiians Prefer to Take
Long Haul Instead of Short Hop
Island-hopping around Hawaii used to be a spur-of-the-moment decision. Grab your gear and head to the airport -- it's just a 30-minute ride from Honolulu to Maui.
But long lines at security checkpoints and higher ticket prices are encouraging many Hawaii residents to skip the island-to-island travel and head for the mainland.
A recent study by SMS Research and Marketing shows that inter-island travel by Hawaii residents has dropped 22 percent since 2000. At the same time, travel to the mainland has increased 19 percent.
"You used to just show up and hop on a flight. When the actual air travel time is significantly less than the time you have to spend at the airport, people are probably going to say it's not worth it," said Fredrick M. Collison, professor of transportation and marketing at the University of Hawaii. "You might as well just go to the mainland."
Airlines that fly between the state's six major islands will soon be facing more competition when an inter-island ferry service makes its debut in 2006. The service will be slower than the 30- to 45-minute flights, but passengers will be able to bring their cars.
-- Kimberly Edds