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Bright and Brief

February 14, 1988

LONG BEACH, Calif. (AP) _ A supermarket found a novel way to help celebrate this city’s centennial - a 100-second, mad dash through the aisles for free groceries and other items.

Seven runners, each representing a city resident who is at least 100 years old, racked up $975.51 worth of items Saturday, according to store manager Paco Preciado. Most of the competitors were the centenarians’ grandchildren, he said.

About 50 regular shoppers cheered and Preciado kept a close eye on the stopwatch as the racers made individual dashes through the aisles.

″When it got down to 10 seconds, it was like pandemonium for the person shopping,″ Preciado said.

One woman managed to cram $289 worth of goods in her cart.

″She was running a lot of meat, a lot of soaps, high-figure items,″ he said.

Other favorites were ice cream and frozen foods.

The centenarians, wearing special T-shirts, watched the goings-on, Preciado said.

″They looked like they were enjoying themselves,″ he said. ″When you’re 100 years old, you don’t jump up and down.″


DENVER (AP) - Instead of calling the witness to the stand, Judge Robert Fullerton asked him to ″please step over to the telephone speaker.″

Fullerton, who wore no judicial robes, was conducting an experiment in trying a case by conference telephone call.

When plaintiff Dennis Ginther testified in Denver, he was cross-examined by defense attorney Michael Soileau in Metairie, La., a New Orleans suburb.

″I like to think in Colorado we’re always trying advanced techniques,″ said Fullerton, a District Court judge. Defense attorneys had sent exhibits to the court in advance, he said, and attorneys in both cities were sent copies.

The case involving a Louisiana firm did not close as scheduled last month, and defense attorneys and defendants returned to Louisiana. So Fullerton scheduled the court session by telephone.

That saved the defendants and attorneys a second trip to Denver, which would have cost $1,500 in air fare alone, Soileau said.

″I don’t know what the cost of the phone call will be, but it will be substantially less,″ said Fullerton.

Ginther, who is based here, is seeking $13,525 in appraisal services he said he performed for Financial Management Services of Metairie in 1985, plus interest and attorneys’ fees. The Louisiana company claimed Ginther was paid according to the contract’s terms.

Fullerton heard the telephone testimony Friday, but did not issue a ruling.

The judge admitted that the experiment has limitations. He can’t tell during questioning if a defendant is being counseled by attorneys on the other end. And a jury trial would be difficult to conduct by phone.

But his clerk, Ginny Dondelinger, said there’s one advantage.

″Attorneys talk less on the telephone than when they can act out in court,″ she said.

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