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The skinny

The skinny: Tropical storm leaves coffee jitters

Morning blues

Tropical Storm Matthew leaves coffee jitters

If you really like your morning cup, you may have little love for Tropical Storm Matthew, which made its way through Central America over the weekend. It came nowhere near Florida, but Matthew's effects could be felt here and across the United States for months. The latest storm to hit the region, Matthew left sugar crops flooded and roads key to coffee areas ruined. Coffee crop losses are not expected to be significant, though. Matthew was the 13th named storm in the Atlantic hurricane season. Earlier this month, Hurricane Karl raked across the sugar- and coffee-growing state of Veracruz, Mexico.

Worldly matters

Wanted: chaplain; heretic preferred

Most universities have chaplains to serve the spiritual needs of their students and staff. Unless a university was founded or is run by a particular religious order, the chaplain tends to be nondenominational. But come to think of it, nonreligious students want the occasional bit of secular guidance. Tufts University is apparently making the logical transition, and looking for a chaplain who is a humanist. Belief in the divine is not required. Tufts Daily, the independent student newspaper, says nearly 60 percent of students of the enrolling class of 2012 responded to a question concerning religious affiliation, and more than 30 percent said they had "none."

Stroke of genius

Paint no protection against a Taser

A Wyoming man needs to develop a more skeptical attitude and stop believing everything he reads. Brian Mattert of Cheyenne somehow got this idea that he would be immune to a Taser's effect if he was covered in paint. So when police arrived at his house on a domestic violence call, Mattert decided to outsmart them by quickly dousing himself with white latex paint. Cheyenne police, who do not get their information from the sources favored by Mattert, used the stun gun and found it worked just fine. They had to use it twice before they could convince Mattert, who now faces several criminal charges. Police say the officers' uniforms had to be cleaned.

Road hazard

To halt sign theft, a call for boredom

A rural Georgia county is losing about 550 street signs a year to thieves, and a commissioner says he has a solution: Make the names boring. McIntosh County Commissioner Mark Douglas says signs marking Green Acres, Boone's Farm and Mary Jane Lane are frequently stolen. He suspects the thieves are targeting those signs because they share names with a popular TV series, a low-cost wine and, in the third case, a slang term for marijuana. It has become a costly problem. County Manager Luther Smart says the government is paying $17,000 a year to replace the signs.

Compiled from Times wires and other sources.

The skinny: Tropical storm leaves coffee jitters 09/27/10 [Last modified: Monday, September 27, 2010 8:22pm]
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