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A STOP SIGN WOULDN'T DO? The 2000 census hasn't even begun yet, but an area of western Colorado already is calculating its losses. It's all because rural Ouray County (population 3,500) is soon to have its first stoplight. Installation at the intersection of US Route 550 and state Route 62 in little Ridgway is to begin in about two weeks. The signal is deemed necessary because traffic through the town has grown to an average of 5,800 vehicles a day. But, says town manager Don Batchelder: "Some people are saying as soon as the light goes in, they're outta here."

I LOVE 'EM; YOU WILL, TOO He won't be appearing in any TV commercials, but reports say one of the most effective pitchmen in Poland these days is Pope John Paul II. When he visited his hometown, Wadowice, in June, he happened to mention a childhood fondness for kremowki - cream cakes that are a specialty of local bakeries. When he spoke, sales were averaging 200 a day. The demand now: 2,500.

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Travel readers rank 'best' cities in US, Canada, Europe A questionnaire developed by the editors of Travel & Leisure magazine - in association with the research and polling group Yankelovich Partners - was sent this spring to thousands of subscribers, asking their opinions on everything from the world's hotels and cities to its spas and islands. Sydney, Australia was voted the world's best city. The following are the respondents' rankings of cities in Europe and North America as published in the September issue of the Travel & Leisure (with each city's world ranking in parentheses):

North America 1. San Francisco (4) 2. Victoria, British Columbia (9) 3. Vancouver, British Columbia (13) 4. New York (14) 5. Seattle (15)

Europe 1. Rome (2) 2. Florence, Italy (3) 3. Paris (6) 4. Venice, Italy (7) 5. London (10)

(c) Copyright 1999. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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