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News-Press from Fort Myers, Florida • Page 8

Fort Myers, Florida
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'i. 3 '-'j4 8 A NEWS-PRESS. FRIDAY. MARCH 28. 1997 III THE HEWS: HEW YORK Irs stat TO St I The Associated Press "It was like a landmark in New York City," The stores, which always closed early on Friday and all day Saturday for the Jewish Sabbath, stocked computers, cameras, video equipment, appliances, darkroom equipment, cell phones, even wedding rings.

The rings were sold by a modestly dressed Hasidic woman who always seemed to be on the phone with her mother "Hello, Mammaleh?" while simultaneously waiting on couples. Other ladies would hand out fliers and wrapped candies as customers climbed the creaky wooden stairs to the sales floor of the 47th Street location. Some customers couldn't handle the free-for-all and would walk back down only to be asked by the smiling Orthodox matrons accosting anyone leaving empty-handed: "Is everything OK?" Founded in 1967 by Irving Goldstein, a Hungarian immigrant, 47th St. Photo began to fall on hard times in 1992 when the company filed for bankruptcy protection from $57 million in debts. By last year, only one of the stores five outlets on West 45th Street remained open.

Although it was still called 47th St. Photo, it was owned by a different company. Earlier this month, that store shut down, too. Signs outside promise a reopening following renovation, but also advertise an auction of the contents. Attorneys for current management did not return a call for comment.

Angelika and Sven Eriksson of Switzerland were disappointed Thursday to find it closed. "We thought it was one of the best shops in New York," said Sven Eriksson, who had bought hand-held computers and cameras there on previous trips. "It was sometimes hard to get their attention, but as soon as you had somebody, the service was good." The stores were not for the faint of heart. Customers had to elbow their way to the counter, then flag down salesmen nearly all of them Hasidic Jews in yarmulkes who seemed far too busy to actually wait on anyone. Pity the shopper who couldn't spit out a brand and model number; the clerk was likely to shove a sales flier over the table and move on to the next client.

Yet that very straightforwardness was appealing there were no gimmicks, no fancy displays, no bait-and-switch deals or smooth-talking sellers. "I used to send people there all the time. It was very reputable," said Tony Santiago, an employee of the Big Apple Hostel, which lodges young international travelers and is right next to the 45th Street store. NEW YORK A travel writer coniessea in pnni several years ago that his friends from Italy, upon arriving in New York, head not to museums, but to 47th St. Photo a place "as famous in Europe as any art gallery." They'll have to come up with a new destination.

The doors are shut at the no-frills, one-flight-up electronics store, famed for its chaotic atmosphere, brash Orthodox Jewish sales staff and cut-rate prices. "It was the ultimate New York shopping experience," recalled Mark Waldstein, who recommended the store in his book "Mr. Cheap's New York." "There was nothing polite about it. You had to go in knowing what you wanted, and it was all you could do to get the guy's attention." But once you did, he added, "you probably got one of the best prices." 7" m-lV The Associated Press CLOSED: A Pedestrian walks past the last of New York's 47th Street Photo stores on West 45th Street Thursday, THE LIGHTER SIDE 'Free agent fan' chooses NEWS OF INTEREST FROM THE NORTHERN STATES AND CANADA six-page letter explaining the team's commitment to pleasing its customers, including recruiting young players fans can follow for years and maintaining ticket prices this year at $3 to $16. The sentence that sold Volpe: "To be a Phillies fan you must have hope in your veins, fealty in your heart, comfort in your soul and a lump in your throat!" Phillies President Bill Giles said Volpe "provided our industry with an opportunity to show fans how much we care." The choice surprised Rob Charry, host of a radio sports talk show on WIP in Philadelphia.

Philly fans aren't known for niceness. They even booed Santa. And they've been staying away from Veterans Stadium in droves. Shanna Mooney Tuesday, 5 p.m. -11 p.m.

335-0345 culty explaining them to a three-judge panel of the appeal court. Bernardo wants a new trial, arguing that the first time around the jury selection was unfair. News-Press wire services Oil The Associated Press BALTIMORE Baseball teams across the country courted Michael Volpe, giving him hats, bats, autographed balls wining, dining, even serenading him. They didn't want him to play for the team; they wanted him to root for the team. On Thursday, the 45-year-old business consultant and "free agent fan" made his pick saying the Philadelphia Phillies and minor league Durham Bulls have the kind of player role models and fan loyalty he's looking for.

"I said, 'Show me the sincerity. Don't show me the Volpe said. The Phillies sent Volpe a gushing (won Paintings Prints Mirrors 5 EL jliSalkiHiy mm urn 12165 S. Cleveland Ave. One mile North of College Pkwy.

Q3G-Q01 6 (across from Boaters Landing) EVES. BYAPPT. Em. mi pi mil mums i Emm 4 Editor Friday through IN BRIEF NEW YORK Rapist of patient gets prison ROCHESTER A former aide at a nursing home drew eight to 25 years in prison Thursday for raping and impregnating a patient while she was in a comalike state. The 30-year-old woman, known only as Kathy, died March 18, a few days before her son's first birthday.

She had been injured in a 1985 car wreck. John Horace, 53,. was convicted last month. The woman's Roman Catholic family had ruled out an abortion and decided to raise the baby. Doctors said it was the first case of a woman in a comalike state becoming pregnant and giving birth.

PENNSYLVANIA Judge kicked off bench HARRISBURG A district judge who spent nearly twice as much time on suspension as he did on duty has been barred from the bench for refusing to attend court-mandated alcohol rehabilitation. District Justice Bradford Timbers was prohibited from ever holding judicial office again by the state Court of Judicial Discipline on Wednesday. Although Timbers had been in trouble continually since he took office in June 1994 for profanity, arriving at work drunk and patting his secretary's buttocks, the disciplinary court decided to give him another chance in April 1996. The 37-year-old judge was suspended for six months without pay and ordered to attend a sobriety program after he blamed his problems on alcoholism. RHODE ISLAND Judge drops most charges PROVIDENCE To illustrate how bad corruption had become in Rhode Island, prosecutors used to tell the story of how former Gov.

Edward DiPrete, while still in office, once rummaged through a restaurant trash bin to find an envelope containing a $10,000 cash payoff that he had mistakenly thrown out. It was a scene befitting a man accustomed to dealing with dirty money, alleged the state attorney general's office, which charged DiPrete with 24 counts of bribery, extortion, perjury and racketeering. But this month, two years after prosecutors made the accusations, a local judge stunned reformers by throwing out most of the case against DiPrete, ruling that Attorney General Jeffrey Pine withheld key evidence from the defense. Regardless of its legal merits, the decision was viewed as a setback by those who have struggled to rid Rhode Island of its knavish reputation. CANADA Bernardo denied lawyer TORONTO Paul Bernardo will have to represent himself when he appeals two first-degree murder convictions in the sex slayings of two schoolgirls, likely this fall.

After being turned down for legal aid, Bernardo's lawyer, Tony Bryant, asked the Ontario Court of Appeal on Thursday to appoint a lawyer for his client, who's in solitary confinement at Kingston Penitentiary. But Justice Michael Moldaver said Bernardo's grounds for appeal are "straightforward, narrow in scope and readily identifiable," adding the convicted killer will have little diffi THE NEWS MICHIGAN Man convicted, fined, punched LIVONIA It was one of those from-the-heels sucker punches so common in old Westerns. Larry McCall never saw it coming. The punch knocked the 51-year-old convicted real estate con man against the courtroom doors Wednesday the courtroom, where, minutes later, he was sentenced to pay $4,500 restitution to an Albanian couple he swindled out of a down payment. "That guy who hit him was better than Mike Tyson.

He walked over there and then real quick boom! right in the face," said Agron Cami, the plaintiff in the case. "He was angry even more angry at McCall than 0 was)." Willie Darden was mad. He had waited eight months in prison to smack McCall. He was in the stir for violating probation. His miscreancy? He had threatened McCall.

MINNESOTA GOP criticizes famous son ST. PAUL While former Vice President Walter Mondale pushes for campaign finance reform, back home in Minnesota, his son has balked at signing a spending limits pledge. And that has drawn Republican criticism, which a top aide to Ted Mondale, a Democrat and former state senator now running for governor, dismissed as an attempt to under MONDALE mine such reform. At the end of last year, Ted Mondale had collected $92,838, more than the five other candidates actively raising money. In second place was another famous son, state Attorney General Hubert H.

Humphrey III, who had collected $72,280 for the 1998 race. Republican Gov. Arne Carlson is stepping down after two terms. Mondale has not signed the voluntary spending limits pledge, while Humphrey and Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman have. Candidates who sign the pledge and abide by it are entitled to public money.

NEW JERSEY Scoff laws targeted FORT LEE If you make a habit of ignoring parking tickets, you'd better keep feeding the meters in this New York City suburb or face a tow. Meter readers in Fort Lee are using eight hand-held computer phones that give them instant access to a statewide database of all of New Jersey's municipal courts and law enforcement agencies. If the time has run out on a motorist's meter and they have three or more parking or moving violations, "they'll get booted or towed," Steve Monetti, executive director of the Fort Lee Parking Authority, told The Record of Hackensack in Thursday's editions. "It's a wonderful way to get people who disobey the law," said Monetti, who also is president of the New Jersey Association of Parking Authorities and Agencies. "We're going to be on the street every day with these things." Mm INDIANA Missing man was camping ATTICA A man presumed missing since he set off on a homemade raft down the Wabash River last weekend has turned up in Parke County.

Police had been looking for Eric Hartley, 40, since Saturday, when a neighbor reported seeing him floating down the river on a crude boat fashioned from plywood and Styrofoam. "With the river being up, we weren't sure it was seaworthy," Assistant Police Chief Robert Scherer said Wednesday. But Parke County conservation officers found Hartley camping on a riverbank in the county earlier this week, he said. Hartley, who lived until recently underneath an Attica bridge spanning the Wabash, "is just as sane as anybody, I guess," said Scherer. "He keeps himself neat and clean and all that, but he just likes to live under the bridge from time to time," Scherer said.

IOWA Couple wins Powerball prize DES MOINES A Wilmington, man and his fiancee who won a $53 million Powerball jackpot said Thursday their first purchase would be a diamond ring to make their engagement official. Delaware Lottery officials confirmed the 32-year-old financial executive and his fiancee had the winning ticket in Wednesday night's multi-state lottery drawing, estimated to be worth $53 million over a 20-year annuity. The winning numbers were: 4-15-19-26-31, Powerball 33. MAINE Teacher pleads guilty ALFRED A former English teacher at exclusive prep schools was sentenced Thursday for sexual contact with two children in 1985. In a plea bargain, David Cobb received an 18-month jail term to be served concurrently with the eight-to 15-year sentence Cobb is serving in New Hampshire for trying to molest a boy and possessing hundreds of cut-and-paste child pornography photos.

Although the new sentencing did not increase his prison time, it gave a victim in Maine a chance to denounce him in court. "It has been said he is a wonderful teacher. What he is is a despicable child molester," said the girl, who was 9 at the time of the crime. "He's been a teacher of deception and evil." The Maine indictments, also involving a 12-year-old boy, came a month after Cobb, 60, was convicted in New Hampshire. MASSACHUSETTS Tickle Me Elmo Is weapon SOMERSET A domestic argument left a man dazed last week after his estranged wife used a Tickle Me Elmo doll to club him on the head and knock him down, police said.

Heidi J. Souza, 34, hit Thomas Souza, 34, so hard with the red furry doll that when a police officer arrived, a stunned Thomas Souza was bleeding from his left cheek, police said. Heidi Souza, who is separated from her husband, was charged with violat-, ing a restraining order and assault and battery with a dangerous weapon. WITH PUIICIIASE OF ANY SONY CELLULAR PHQIIE! Mail-in coupon. Limited time only.

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