Watercooler Stories

By DENNIS DAILY, United Press International   |   Sept. 9, 2002 at 4:45 AM
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Many sporting events and concerts scheduled for the remainder of the warm weather season are being canceled or moved as the threat of the West Nile virus continues in many parts of the country. In the case of sporting events, an increasing number of schools say they are shifting the time of day that events are held.

For example, one of the school districts in Allen County, Ind. (in the Ft. Wayne area), is moving its football games to afternoons because of fear of mosquitoes carrying the virus biting players and fans. The East Allen County district has begun moving events, starting this week. The move in that part of the Midwest was taken quickly on the heels of the announcement of the death of a Ft. Wayne woman from West Nile, the first fatality in the area.

In addition, there have been reports of other schools taking the same tack; and several concerts by schools and professional groups are under a cloud as promoters rethink their schedules until the coming of cold weather (at which time the threat will be over).

Nationally, more than 40 deaths have been attributed to West Nile this year. Many of those bitten were taking part in recreational activities in outdoor areas near where mosquitoes breed.


The folks at Kentucky Fried Chicken say that one of its stores in China has become that country's first drive-through restaurant. The KFC franchise is in the Chinese capital city and is located in the Asian Olympics Village.

The fast food chain tells United Press International that the automobile market is booming in China's largest metropolitan areas. More than 12 percent of families in those cities now own some kind of self-powered transportation.

By the way, KFC is the largest and oldest American fast food chain in that country. It has locations in approximately 150 Chinese cities. It plans on opening the 700th KFC franchise in China before the end of the year.


Mention the name George Armstrong Custer to most people and the image of the Battle of the Little Big Horn (Custer's Last Stand) comes to mind. Now the History Channel says that it will air a two-hour profile of Custer's fighting days before his infamous run-in with the Sioux, as part of a look at the Fighting 7th Cavalry.

The cable network, on its Web Site, says that the special will look at what it calls one of the "best known fighting units in American military history." Custer took over the famous unit at Fort Riley, Kansas, in 1866.

But, even as the cavalry was destroyed at Little Big Horn, it did not "stay dead" forever. The channel says the profile looks beyond the Custer regime to the later reincarnation of the unit and its service in WWI, WWII and eventually in the Vietnam era.

For more go to historychannel.com on the Internet.


Some of the folks who constantly monitor the health and safety of the nation have decided that September should be named Baby Safety Month. The Consumer Product Safety Commission, on its Web site, says that it's launching a huge nationwide safety campaign aimed at parents and caretakers of small children.

The kick-off was held late last week at the National Press Club in Washington.

Among those speaking was a representative of a national group that is the "umbrella organization" for hundreds of companies making toys and other products for young children. Also there was an executive from Toys-R-Us and a member of the SIDS Alliance group, for Sudden Infant Death Syndrome.

The thrust of this year's campaign is the alerting parents and others to the dangers of placing a small infant in an adult-size bed.

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