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OVERHEARD

"Are you serious? Let me get my violin out for you."

_ Parent Lorraine Mortellaco to a flustered employee of the Sweet Factory at West Shore Plaza on Halloween night as he stood before windows filled with rainbow-colored candy but contended the store was out of free treats.

"The kids get to dress up, which is all that's important. And mommy gets to shop."

_ Melissa Becton, sanguine about a waterlogged Halloween that caused her and other parents to take their little ones trick-or-treating at the mall.

"It was something that never should have gone this far. It should have been an internal matter at the post office."

_ Juror Jerry Johnson on the federal trial of former letter carrier William Santiago, accused of stealing seven catalogs and other mailings to incorrect addresses or dead people. The jury deadlocked after two days of deliberation and was dismissed. Most jurors favored acquittal.

"Until you have been faced with something like that, you can't judge what you would do. I did what comes naturally to me, and that is talking to people and crisis resolution."

_ A 25-year-old Town 'N Country woman who used her psychology training to deal with a robber in her home last week. She calmed him down, then fed him a meal and told him to leave, which he did.

"You know how they say love is blind."

_ Aldo Flam, brother of Nadine Flam, whose son died from abuse police say was inflicted by her boyfriend, Jose Cortez. Nadine had been ordered to keep the child away from Cortez after he was charged with beating the baby earlier, but Flam's brother said she wouldn't obey.

"I know if the state would have done its job, this baby would be alive."

_ Norma Perez, a friend of Salvador and Ana Flam, the grandparents of Jonathan Flam, the dead 2-year-old. Perez said she and the Flams repeatedly called child welfare workers to warn them the baby was having contact with Jose Cortez.

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