MOUNT AIRY, N.C. -- A small-town chiropractor bent on keeping fees low for the uninsured is relying on an honor system to get paid.
Dr. Samuel Jeffrey Ray, owner of Affordable Walk N Chiropractic clinic, doesn't bill his patients. He simply asks that they put a low fee - $30 for a first visit and $20 for follow-ups - in a milk can before they leave.
With a small office, no employees and no insurance to deal with, Ray is able to keep his prices low by avoiding administrative costs.
"I have a fee schedule that I ask for," he said this week. "But if you can't afford that, nobody watches you put the money in the milk can. If you are a little bit short, nobody is watching you but yourself. It's an honor system."
He said he's found that most patients are honest. He said he knows of only two incidents in the five years he's been at this location in which people took money from the jar.
"If you treat people like they are honest, they probably will be," he said. "I trust people to be honest and to pay whatever they think is fair."
Now he treats between 30 and 40 patients a day in the modest office space where everything is out in the open. Ray is his own receptionist.
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MACOMB, Ill. -- One girls' high school softball game needed more than a seventh-inning stretch.
Two high school softball teams battling for a regional title set a state playoff record by playing 26 innings.
Neither team scored until the 26th, when Southern broke through with a run to beat Macomb 1-0 in Class A play Monday.
"I just can't believe it took this long for one of us to win," Southern coach John Morrison said. "It's too bad that one of us had to lose, too."
The game took five hours and 13 minutes, including a 10-minute bathroom break.
"It was the first time I've ever been in a softball game that they had to take an intermission," Macomb coach Kelly Sears said. "It was a great ball game."
Only three regular-season games in Illinois have ever been longer. Oak Park River Forest and Glenbard West went 28 innings over two days in 2000. Anna-Jonesboro and Sparta went 27 in 2001, as did McHenry and Lake Zurich.
Pitchers threw 653 pitches to 201 batters during the latest marathon.
"Both teams had runners on base in every inning," Sears said. "It came down to who was gonna catch the lucky break. They did and we didn't."
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HELENDALE, Calif. -- A museum dedicated to burlesque memorabilia is struggling financially after spending thousands of dollars to fix a string of code violations.
The Exotic World Museum of Burlesque and Striptease Hall of Fame features photographs, tattered gowns, faded G-strings and pasties from the golden age of burlesque, which was popular in American theater from the 1930s to the 1950s.
The museum opened in 1991, but doesn't have a permit to operate, according to San Bernardino County code enforcement officials. It also has been given notice of inadequate or hazardous wiring, substandard conditions and running an illegal mobile home park.
Exotic World can stay open as long as it gets a land-use permit, said Randy Rogers, code enforcement supervisor.
The museum has begun to fix the violations, but the costs have cut into profits, which were $12,000 last year. So far it has spent $10,000 to tear down two illegal trailers, fix the wiring, remove nearly nine tons of trash and apply for a conditional use permit.
The museum halfway between Los Angeles and Las Vegas gets about 15 visitors a day.
"This is going to cost everything I've got," said owner Charles Arroyo.
He's hoping to make about $4,000 in profits from the annual Striptease Reunion and Miss Exotic World Pageant scheduled for June 7. Even then, he said, "most of it is already burned up."
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DUBUQUE, Iowa -- Snakes, reptiles and amphibians are making themselves at home in the old county jail - until their new home in the National Mississippi River Museum and Aquarium is ready.
"We have about 45 snakes," said Brian Lex, one of four full-time aquarists with the museum and aquarium.
The fish, reptiles and amphibians will be moved before the aquarium's opening on June 28. In the meantime, tanks and small aquariums line the halls of the jail's basement.
Lex and the other aquarists stroll from room to room, checking water, performing maintenance on tanks and checking snakes for signs of shedding.
Although shedding is a natural process for snakes, aquarists like to keep tabs on it because of its effect on diet and other factors, Lex said.
"I never thought I would be working with alligators in Dubuque," Lex said.
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