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By DENNIS DAILY, United Press International   |   Jan. 6, 2003 at 4:00 AM   |   Comments

WINE COUNTRY SHOWS UPSWING IN DUI ARRESTS

When all the police records were compiled for the just-passed holidays, drivers in California wine country did not fare well. Statistics processed by all-news station KCBS in San Francisco show that there was a huge increase in DUI arrests in Sonoma County over the holiday weekends, compared with a year earlier. The station says that while arrests in much of the San Francisco Bay area were up only slightly (most had a 1 percent rise), DUIs in Sonoma County were up by a whopping 60 percent.

Nearly 200 motorists were stopped by police to check out what appeared to be instances of drunken driving.

One police official told the station that most officers are tired of having to knock on doors over holiday weekends to tell the people inside that a loved one has been injured or killed in an alcohol-related accident.

The increase in drivers taken off the roads, particularly in Sonoma, might account for the fact that there was only a slight increase in the number of accidents in the multi-county area, as compared with a year earlier.


LATEST 'RINGS' MOVIE IS AT TOP OF STATS

The latest movie in the "Ring" cycle is No. 1 at the nation's box offices. The film, "Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers," is now in its third week of distribution. So far movie box office watchers say it's taken in more than $261 million during its run.

The national box office stayed rather static, though. One reason is that no new blockbuster films were introduced to give the current crop a run for its money.

But the expansive musical "Chicago" did show impressive gains. It took in an additional $5 million in ticket sales, although not playing at that many theaters.

With the take for "Two Towers," that movie has now eclipsed the previous box office "biggie," "Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets" at the nation's theaters in ticket sales.

Promoters of the newest "Ring" movie says that people should really see the first film to fully understand the second. But the second can stand alone because of its complete plot and exciting action sequences.


DEGAS GETTING HIS DAY IN PHILLY

The latest exhibition of the works of Edgar Degas will soon open its doors in Philadelphia. The Inquirer notes that the name Degas will always be synonymous with "dance." This latest exhibition of the artist's work focuses in on myriad aspects of Terpsichore.

More than half of the works of art that Degas completed before his death had something to do with dance or dancers. The publication's Edward J. Sozanski says that Degas managed to create some of "Western art's most transcendent images of dancers and dance performance."

Due to open early next month, the Degas showing will be mounted at the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

A co-organizer of the exhibit is the Detroit Institute of the Arts, which will display the works after they leave Philadelphia.

The exhibit has more than 120 pieces by Degas and is officially named "Degas and the Dance."


KANSAS ABUSE CASE RAISES MANY QUESTIONS

In the wake of the death of a young boy in Kansas, a lot of questions about that state's welfare system are being asked. But an investigation into what happened to 9-year-old "Brian" might be difficult. He was in the custody of foster parents in Kansas at the time. The Kansas City (Mo.) Star says that many personal records of state-run childcare are not open to the public. In neighboring Missouri that is not the case.

What the Star does know is that the boy had been given over to the care of a couple named Neil and Christy Edgar. The boy would eventually be found dead, his mouth taped shut, the victim of suffocation.

Just last week the couple was officially charged with first-degree murder.

Only 1 percent of children in the foster care system of Kansas have been shown to be abused. But many around the state are asking for a more thorough examination of the entire process to prevent other horrible incidents from happening ... to protect future "Brians" from meeting a similar fate.

© 2003 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
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