Watercooler Stories

By DENNIS DAILY, United Press International   |   July 25, 2002 at 4:45 AM
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Popular second-generation racer Michael Andretti has decided to buy out his current racing team. The controlling interest in Championship Auto Racing Teams has been transferred to the young driver by the former owner, Barry Green.

The Indianapolis Star says that what will be renamed Andretti/Green Racing will become a reality on Dec. 1 of this year.

Green will stay on in the capacity of a consultant to the racing team. He will also be active in helping negotiate sponsorships with commercial interests. It is not known in which circuits the team will race, CART or the Indy Racing League.

The 39-year-old Andretti -- the oldest son of racing icon Mario Andretti -- holds the record for having been in the No. 1 position in the greatest number of laps at the Indy 500 without having won the race. His best finishes were 2nd (1991) and 3rd (2001).


Mementos from the classic movie "Gone With the Wind" have been auctioned off in New York. And, according to Christie's, nearly 350 lots of merchandise went on the block for bids.

Nearly all the merchandise was sold. The total take was just under $340,000.

The biggest money-getting item was a sweater worn by Olivia de Havilland in two scenes in the picture ... where she meets Ashley at the train station and when she accepts money for the hospital. The Atlanta Journal and Constitution says that experts assumed the sweater would sell for about $6,000. It went for $16,730.

A former Hollywood makeup artist, Jim Tumblin, bought the sweater and other items for his "Gone With the Wind" Museum in Marietta, Ga.


You might say there is a "West Nile watch" going on in this country. Animal and human health experts and state organizations around the nation -- especially in hot-weather states with large mosquito populations -- are looking for signs of the sometimes-deadly West Nile virus. The latest case has been reported by state epidemiologists in Minnesota. They tell the Minneapolis Star-Tribune that two cases have been confirmed after autopsies on dead crows found in the rural part of that state.

The virus was initially found in the United States very recently, 1999. Since that time, spread by mosquitoes and birds, it has sickened hundreds. It's been particularly virulent in attacking horses, many of which have died.

In humans West Nile does not usually do more than make healthy people ill, though there have been some deaths reported in patients who were either elderly or had depressed immune systems.

Experts note that they think it is present in other parts of Minnesota because it has also been found in the neighboring jurisdictions of North Dakota and Manitoba. So far some 18 people have died in this country after contracting the disease from mosquitoes.


The Yamaha company says it's cooperating with federal regulators in the recall of more than 14,000 all-terrain vehicles because of a possibly bad weld on many of them. Should the weld fail the back brakes could also fail.

The company, based in the Los Angeles area, has been working with the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission on the recall. That agency, on its Web site, confirms the process and says that the vehicles involved in the national recall notice are either gray and blue or red and white. They have the marking "350 Electric" on them. All are from the 1997 production year's run of Warrior ATVs.

The units were sold nationally from the fall of 1996 through the end of 1997.

For more information call 800-889-2624.

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