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News In Brief

MIND IF I SIT NEXT TO YOU?

There are park benches. And then there's the bench that workers put the finishing touches on this week at Flora 2000, a flower show on Awaji-shima Island, Japan. It seats 900 people, give or take a few. Look at it this way: At 1,832 feet you could line up almost six football fields, end to end, beside it. Yet organizers of the show don't plan to seek an entry in the Guinness Book of World Records because, by September, it will be dismantled. Said a spokes-man: "We just wanted to give people a place to sit and look at the flowers."

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DAD, SOMEONE NEEDS HELP

No matter what else he does, Fletcher Wold already is a hero - at age seven. The McMinn-ville, Ore., lad was playing with his walkie-talkie when it picked up a scratchy distress call from two stranded climbers on Mt. Hood - 70 miles away. Fletcher reported it to his father, who alerted authorities. A helicopter crew rescued the climbers, but police say the credit belongs to Fletcher.

Where resort homes come cheap (and where they don't)

Even if you don't have a million dollars to spend, buying a vacation home could still be a possibility. An annual survey by Coldwell Banker Real Estate Corp. found houses in the US's most affordable resort area - Grayling, Mich. - cost just $51,000 on average. In fact, of 250 vacation markets surveyed, about 140 offered homes for less than $100,000. The most affordable prices, followed by the most expensive cited by Coldwell Banker for various types of resorts:

Desert

Bullhead City, Ariz. $125,000

Scottsdale, Ariz. $500,000

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Lake/stream

Grayling, Mich. $51,000

Sun Valley, Idaho $650,000

Mountain

Cherokee Village, Ariz. $75,000

Ironwood, Mich. $75,000

Aspen, Colo. $2.2 million

Ocean/shoreline

Fort Myers, Fla. $115,000

Rancho Santa Fe, Calif. $1.5 million

- Business Wire

(c) Copyright 2000. The Christian Science Publishing Society