Originally created 09/02/01

Odds and ends



PORT ALLEN, La. -- The West Baton Rouge Parish sheriff's office invited 150 people to a party and no one came.

The invitees were all wanted on misdemeanor arrest warrants for such offenses as writing bad checks, traffic violations and disturbing the peace. They were lured with the promise of a drawing for a wide-screen television set and a vacation trip to Florida.

Lt. Ed Rozell, who secretly planned the event for six weeks, said only four men in his warrant division knew about the operation and other deputies were told on Wednesday, the day of the party.

Rozell had two deputies stationed on horseback behind the community center where the party was to take place in case someone tried to head for the woods.

"We had everything set to go," Rozell said.

But by noon, with no guests arriving, Rozell scrubbed the operation.

"Nobody showed up. Not a soul," he said. "It all went down the tubes."

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SPRINGFIELD , Ore. -- In a back-to-school message accidentally sent to parents and students at Briggs Middle School, the principal described students as "snot-nosed" and "hormonally charged juvenile delinquents."

Mike Riplinger, who says the letter was tongue-in-cheek and not meant to be publicly distributed, offered a letter of apology to the school, students and parents.

In the letter, Riplinger said he made an "error in judgment" and wrote, "I am privileged to get the opportunity to work with your children ... to share in their growth and help shape their futures."

The school district accepted Riplinger's apology and some parents also seemed ready to forgive but it was a different matter for some students.

"The (students) who were at my house felt betrayed," said Briggs parent Bonnie Sinyard. "My own daughter's comment was, 'These are the things he tells us not to do."'

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SNELLVILLE, Ga. -- She is the self-described queen of sweepstakes, and she will grope around inside a dead chicken, climb a pyramid of soda cans and clip a mountain of coupons to prove it.

And what does Margaret Hodgson have to show for it? A million dollars, a new car and enough detergent, cigarettes and toothpaste to last her for years.

She's also won enough aftershave to fill a tanker.

"All I do is play sweepstakes," she said. "My job is to go through the newspaper and clip out coupons."

Hodgson won $1 million, paid out annually, in the Bud Bowl sweepstakes in 1994.

Among her tips for the amateurs: Always read the fine print. Follow the instructions. And play contests that require contestants to do something, like inventing a name for a new product or write an essay. Fewer people enter those.