Of Human Interest: News-lite

By DENNIS DAILY, United Press International  |  May 7, 2002 at 3:28 AM
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When the city of Aspen, Colo., decided to raise its parking fees the reaction was immediate. Even locals and visitors who are used to always paying more than two dollars per gallon for gasoline in the posh ski resort winced when local parking fees and fines were upped recently.

The Denver Post says that at the same time, more than 40 spaces earmarked for "commercial" use sit vacant in downtown Aspen on most afternoons.

The city is asking for input in the wake of the fee increase ... and it's getting all the input it can handle. At some meters, parking is more than $2 an hour. The fees will come as a surprise when snow returns to the nearby slopes and tourists return in less than five months.


There is a move afoot by several sections of sprawling Los Angeles to sever official ties and become separate cities. One of those wanting out is Hollywood. But what would happen to the Hollywood sign that looms large above that section of the city? Well, according to published reports, at least one city councilman is determined that no matter what happens to Hollywood, the "Hollywood" sign will remain the property of the greater city of Los Angeles and will continue to shine in the night sky.

Councilman Tom LaBonge is quoted as saying that the sign is a monument to the entire entertainment industry. By the way, his district includes Mount Lee, where the sign stands.

It was built in the early, early days of the area and originally said "Hollywoodland." It was used as a kind of billboard to advertise a tract of land intended for new homes. Eventually the land became the property of Los Angeles when the original owner defaulted on a tax bill.


Those little hand-held so-called "Palm" computers have powerful brains, but are much cheaper than regular computers and very small. Those three factors have caused several school systems around the nation to wonder if students can use them to advantage in the classroom.

In Indiana, for example, several hundred students -- ranging from third grade through high school -- are using the tiny "thinking machines" in Wayne Township in one of the biggest in-classroom tests in the nation.

Additionally, according to the Indianapolis Star, a suburban Chicago district is also testing how effective the digital machines can be. They cost about $250 apiece and are being given to talented students to explore their potential.

Some school districts have made them required tools for students. A school in North Carolina was the first to put them on the must-have list.


A one-hour nightly news broadcast in Los Angeles could be symptomatic of the way TV news may be headed, but according to one respected media reviewer, it may be pushing the envelope a wee bit too far. Writing in the Los Angeles Times, Howard Rosenberg says that the local UPN affiliate's glossy 10 p.m. news hour -- though the winner of a local Emmy -- is more like a music video than a newscast.

According to Rosenberg, fearing that his critique of the news hour was a "generational assessment," he put the question to nearly 30 film students he teaches at USC. Their assessment, after watching two videotapes of the nightly show, was much the same. But he admits that "news for dummies" may be the wave of the future.

With a high emphasis on the old "if it bleeds, it leads" dictum, the newscast may be breaking new ground.

Where's Walter Cronkite when you need him?

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