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The Uzi of office supplies
June 8, 1995

RALEIGH - Thanks to Ricky Rose, the phrase "This is a stick-up" has a whole new meaning in the Triangle.

Rose, a 34-year-old homeless man, will appear in court today on armed robbery charges. Police say Rose took $19.31 from a Raleigh lawyer at a South Blount Street gas station on the night of May 24.

The weapon?

Not a gun. Not a knife. Not even a broken beer bottle.

Out of either extraordinary gumption or extraordinary stupidity, Rose is alleged to have sneaked behind the 65-year-old man and held him up with a beige office stapler.

The tactic ultimately failed when an off-duty Highway …

'I want it! And I want it now!'
June 19, 1995

With her father David in tow, Sarah Chappell looked across The Disney Store at Raleigh’s Crabtree Valley Mall, spied the Pocahontas birthday party set she had been searching for and smiled.

"Here it is. I want it," the 3-year-old girl announced in delight.

"Maybe we’ll get it when it is closer to your birthday," her father said.

"But I want it now!" insisted Sarah, who will turn 4 on Friday, the same day that "Pocahontas," Walt Disney’s latest animated movie, opens nationwide.

Like Sarah, children across the Triangle have discovered the Pocahontas merchandise that has been flowing into stores since the beginning of this …

June 25, 1995

Lovers of Michael Jackson, Hootie and the Blowfish and other major recording stars will soon get more music for their money: Prices for some compact discs are plunging across the Triangle as the region’s record stores prepare for a major price war.

But while they’re lowering their prices, some Triangle store owners aren’t even sure whether they will survive the competition.

Consumer electronics chain Best Buy opened its first Triangle store in Raleigh’s Pleasant Valley

Promenade on June 16 and will open its second in Durham’s New Hope Commons in October. It will sell CDs at or below cost as a way of …

You have a hand in passing germs
June 29, 1995

Last week the nation’s doctors finally confessed: They haven’t been washing their hands often enough.

Medical insiders say the problem has existed for years, but the doctors’ admission at the American Medical Association convention in Chicago is still hard to believe.

Reminding doctors to wash their hands should be like reminding lawyers to bill their clients. A no-brainer. If they can’t master basic hand washing, then they probably didn’t get much else out of medical school.

After all, experts from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to the Mayo Clinic call hand washing the single most important way to stop infectious diseases …

July 11, 1995

RALEIGH - On a grassy field along Garner Road, a sleek UH-1 Huey helicopter swathed in the black and silver of the N.C. State Highway Patrol sits with its nose pointed due south.

Decades ago and thousands of miles away, Sgt. Chuck Boyd flew the UH-1 over the jungles of Vietnam for the Army. These days he flies over the woods and forests of North Carolina for the Highway Patrol, searching for a very different enemy: marijuana.

During these summer months, the height of "drug season," Boyd and three other pilots will each spend roughly three days a week scouring the state …

July 25, 1995

RALEIGH - On a sun-streaked weekday evening at the playing fields of Laurel Hills Park, the bases are loaded, the game’s on the line, and Jon Shaw is following the ball.

From the moment the baseball leaves the pitcher’s hand, its red stitches spinning frantically, until gravity slams it down with a thump into the glove of the catcher kneeling before him, Shaw watches it.

In a split second, he’ll decide whether the ball came in too high, too low, too far to the inside or too far to the outside to be a strike.

At the same time, Shaw eyes the runner …

July 28, 1995

RALEIGH - Spare us the arguments.

You’ve seen everything that’s playing at the movie theaters. There’s nothing good on TV. The clubs are too crowded, the bars too boring.

So you go bowling Friday night.

Over on lane four of the Western Lanes Bowling Center, Terence Harding and T.C. Thomas are preparing for the latest installment of a competition that’s been going on since 1986. The stakes are bragging rights and an occasional "beer frame." They come to the bowling alley about twice a month.

"All of the bowling alleys are full on Friday nights," Harding says. "This is probably the only one you …

Long-distance firms fight change
August 2, 1995

In high school civics classes, they don’t mention the shrink-wrapped Monopoly board games in how a bill becomes a law.

A coalition of long-distance telephone carriers has sent the popular board game to every member of Congress and to newspaper editors across the country in a last-minute lobbying effort.

Much more than Monopoly money is at stake. The long-distance carriers are trying to keep federal telecommunications reform legislation from passing "Go."

The reform bill had cleared the U.S. House Commerce Committee May 25 by a 38-5 vote, with the long-distance companies’ whole-hearted support. Then on July 13, they learned that House leaders slipped …

Hot Bytes
August 2, 1995

No matter how hard you try to convince it otherwise, your computer won’t cook for you.

But it may become one of the most important tools in your kitchen.

Long before there was cyberspace or the information superhighway, computer makers had food fans in mind.

The makers of the first personal computers thought people would use them to store recipes. Very quickly, they found out otherwise: Pencil and paper did just fine for most folks.

But with the emergence of the Internet, the global link of computer networks, people have started talking about computers and cooking again.

Food lovers are flocking to the Internet. There …

Hot Bytes Sidebar: Internet offerings vary
August 2, 1995

Selecting recipes or nutrition information from the Internet isn’t like consulting your favorite cookbook. Most of the information has been placed there by individuals and the quality varies.

Some sites are lovingly crafted tributes to favorite foods that are rich in description but short on information. Others are simply online advertisements.

Keep in mind that the Internet is global and that most of the world measures their recipes on the metric system. Even the definition of a pint varies from country to country. So be careful when converting recipes.

Be wary of any online site that asks you to send your credit card …

Hot Bytes Sidebar: A sample of tasty sites
August 2, 1995

There are three types of food information resources on the Internet:

Mailing lists, essentially an ongoing conversation by electronic mail. You need to sign up for these, and messages are delivered directly to you via e-mail.

Newsgroups, the equivalent of a global bulletin board where anyone interested can post or read messages without registering.

Sites on the World Wide Web, which link Internet resources. The Web allows you to follow highlighted links to other resources .

Here are some sites that may whet your appetite. You can use searching tools like Yahoo and WebCrawler to find food resources elsewhere.

World Wide Web

Chocolate Lover’s Page, a …

Foam in the shape of things to come
August 12, 1995

ZEBULON - A 6-foot foam cylinder called the Funnoodle could be the Hula-Hoop of the 1990s. Or so its makers hope.

The packaging of the buoyant water toy says it’s from Tennessee, but the Funnoodle is really made right here in the Triangle.

So are Nerf arrows, parts of Seeley mattresses, and even the protective padding at those playgrounds McDonald’s provides for french fry-fueled youngsters.

"Those are applications that many consumers in the Triangle use and don’t know that it’s made here," said Marc Noel, the president of Nomaco Inc., a low-profile, privately held company that makes thermoplastic foam products.

With 460 employees and …

Business edges into the Brave new cyberworld
August 20, 1995

The Internet could be the newest commercial frontier, where pioneers strike gold every place they tread.

Or it could be a treacherous and deadly landscape, swallowing up trailblazers and setting in motion costly financial flops.

Welcome to the world of cyberbusiness.

It’s easy to get caught up in the hype of the Internet as companies in the Triangle rush to go on-line. But, so far, success stories are few and far between as companies tentatively explore the intricacies of Internet commerce.

In fact, many companies have found they are more likely to use the Internet to save money rather than to make money.

"I don’t …

Home work has special benefits
August 22, 1995

When Paul Jones has a particularly thorny matter on his mind, he leaves his Durham office and plays a few holes of golf across the street.

He doesn’t have to worry about what his co-workers might think. Since July, he’s worked by himself, in an office above his garage.

When Jones agreed to leave his job at a Raleigh law firm to join a Columbia, S.C., company as vice president for business development, he insisted that he be allowed to remain in the Triangle.

"I didn’t want to move to Columbia," Jones says. "I can make an argument that, with the type of …

A stitch in time means profits after a year
August 22, 1995

RALEIGH - Vernita Evans’ business strategy looks remarkably simple:

Keep people in stitches. Laugh all the way to the bank.

No, she’s not a comedienne. She’s a seamstress. Evans owns Sew Well Learning Center & Manufacturing, a North Raleigh company that teaches people how to sew.

"Sewing is like typing," Evans said. "If you can type, you can get a job anywhere. If you can sew, you can always make money. People always need alterations."

So a year ago, she left her job working with mentally handicapped patients to try her hand at teaching sewing full time.

Evans rented office space on Wake Forest Road, …

Computer users clamor to open new Windows
August 24, 1995

The longest waiting game in software history comes to an end today. But the frenzy has just begun.

Microsoft Windows 95, possibly the most heavily promoted computer product ever, officially went on sale throughout the Triangle at midnight.

The newest version of Microsoft’s highly successful operating system should make personal computers easier to set up and use. Windows 95 will include better audio and video capabilities, and offer easy access to the Internet through the Microsoft Network, the company’s new online service.

Seven to nine million copies are expected to be sold this week alone, according to market research firm Dataquest Inc. Another …

Bombarded by the U.S. Navy; It's a Job and an Adventure To Keep Up With Their Junk Mail
August 27, 1995

THE NAVY COMMANDERS sent the letter to my mother, but they had really been after me.

In the fall of my junior year in high school, I took the standardized Preliminary Scholastic Aptitude Test (PSAT), which most colleges use to identify potential applicants. Check the box that authorizes the testing service to release your name and the colleges hit you with a flurry of brochures, videos, applications and scholarship offers.

What I didn’t know was that the Defense Department would seize upon the scores, too. Much like their academic counterparts, the armed services pore over those scores for potential recruits. And, for …

Is tobacco in line for on-line?
September 3, 1995

The battle is on to see if there will ever be a tobacco road in cyberspace.

As the White House leads a campaign to lower underage smoking rates by placing sweeping restrictions on cigarette advertising, giddy anti-smoking activists hope to stub out the tobacco industry’s on-line efforts before they can take root. But tobacco companies have started to claim their little acre of the Internet.

Nearly 37 percent of on-line Americans are under the age of 18, according to a study commissioned by HotWired, the on-line version of Wired magazine. That’s the same age group that President Clinton said on Aug. 10 …

Snooty Recruit
September 9, 1995

I was disappointed that you would print a piece as disingenuous as Stewart Ugelow’s tale of his recruitment by the U.S. Navy ["Bombarded by the U.S. Navy," Outlook, Aug. 27]. While Ugelow professes that his story is told out of some benevolent concern over wasted tax dollars, it appears that he is doing nothing more than relating an elitist joke.

Many high school and college students are flooded with recruitment mail from various branches of the armed forces. I am a senior at Swarthmore College (certainly as unlikely a launching pad for a career in the military as Yale) and despite …

College Journalists Launch Daily Online Newsmagazine
December 7, 1995

NEW HAVEN, CT (December 7, 1995) — College journalists from across the country today launched Student.Net, the first daily online college newsmagazine ever.

Students from Yale, Columbia, Northwestern, Georgetown, and other universities have collaborated in a "virtual newsroom" for months to create Student.Net, which can be found on the Internet's World Wide Web at "" and is accessible from all the major commercial online services. Unlike other sites aimed at college students, content on Student.Net is created entirely by journalists — not corporate marketers. "Too much of what's online is advertising disguised as content," said …

Editor & Publisher: College Students Target Their Own With Student.Net
December 12, 1995

So, watch out, professional publishers. Among the competitors you should be watching are a bunch of college students willing to work for nothing, drawing on the talents of new-media-savvy friends and colleagues around the world. It’s just this kind of venture, created on a shoestring but the result rivaling professional publishers’ products, that the Internet is all about.