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Universities have poets-in-residence. Now, so does Northern Spirit, a rail system that operates 1,600 trains a day across northern England. Ian McMillan was appointed by the service last week to write and recite "humorous and populist" poems to entertain passengers over a 10-day trial period. In announcing the decision, a spokesman said - presumably with a smile - "It's literally going to be poetry in motion."

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Fairfield, Ohio, police realized this would be no ordinary traffic problem when the call came in. So they raced to the scene and ordered the truck driver to the side of the busy highway. No, John Carpenter wasn't speeding. But his vehicle was, in a sense, stolen. Then, too, it was only a toy. John, who's 6, had slipped away from his day-care center, hot-wired the mini-monster truck on display outside a nearby resale shop, and gone joy-riding. Said a co-owner of the shop: "I had the wires unhooked. I couldn't believe it. I was floored."

In auto survey, Lexus ranks No. 1 for customer service

Lexus dominates the J.D. Power & Associates 1999 customer-service index, based on responses from more than 51,000 vehicle owners. Citing Lexus and Saturn as key examples, the study says some of the biggest automotive-success stories of the 1990s have been built largely on customer service. Saturn, ranked No. 7, is the only nonluxury make to be listed among the top 10. Honda, second in the nonluxury category, is No. 13. The J.D. Power customer-service leaders and the number of points they accumulated in the study out of a possible 1,000:

1. Lexus 815

2. Cadillac 778

3. BMW 775

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4. Volvo 774

5. Infiniti 771

6. Jaguar 771

7. Saturn 762

8. Audi 760

9. Mercedes-Benz 751

10. Land Rover 742

- PR Newswire

(c) Copyright 1999. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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