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OH, OK, IF WE MUST

It takes a really tall tale to win the annual Burlington (Wis.) Liars Club contest. So tip your cap to Gordon Zwicky because he's a worthy champion. He beat 299 other competitors with a whopper about his trip to Florida. A neighbor, said Zwicky, told him and his wife, Dorothy, they'd be fine as long as they paid attention to the road signs along the way. But they'd driven just 30 miles when they saw one that read "Clean Restrooms Ahead." Two months later, they arrived exhausted, having used up 86 bottles of Windex, 267 rolls of paper towels, and three cases of toilet bowl cleaner. Total restrooms cleaned: 450.

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KEEPING IT IN THE FAMILY

When members of the South Dakota House of Representatives were sworn in yesterday, the invocation was given by the Rev. Ron Hennies, an Episcopal priest from Sioux Falls. Two of his most attentive listeners were Rep. Don Hennies (R), also from Sioux Falls, and Rep. Tom Hennies (R) of Rapid City. Yes, they're all brothers.

Where minimum wages top the federal rate of $5.15

Since Jan. 1, many Massachusetts workers have been paid the highest minimum wage in the US because of a state law hiking the hourly rate by 75 cents to $6.75. That's $1.60 more than the federal minimum wage. Nine other states have minimum rates higher than the federal standard - among them Washington, which has tied the wage to the state's consumer price index (a cost-of-living measurement). So far it's the only state to adopt "indexing," as the controversial practice is called, although others are considering it. The states with the highest hourly minimum wage, according to the US Department of Labor:

1. Massachusetts $6.75

2. Washington 6.72

3. Oregon 6.50

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4. Connecticut 6.40

5. California 6.25

(tie) Vermont 6.25

7. Delaware 6.15

(tie) Rhode Island 6.15

9. Alaska 5.65

10. Hawaii 5.25

- Associated Press

(c) Copyright 2001. The Christian Science Publishing Society