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Miami Meter Can Bill You Later

May 25, 1987|JAMES MARNELL

The parking meter that sits in a downtown Miami parking lot is not your run-of-the mill nickel and dime operation. It is, in fact, a $15,000 space-age machine that takes dollar bills and can be programmed to accept credit cards. A motorist punches in a parking space number, puts in money and presses a red button for a receipt. So far, the French-made meter, which looks like a hybrid of a telephone, calculator and change machine, is performing magnificently, according to Miami parking chief Roger Carlton. "We've had the first one in about three weeks now, and it's a boffo success," Carlton said. "We're taking in more money and giving out fewer tickets." But not everyone is bestowing such critical acclaim on the ParkMaster II, as the meter is called . "Well, I think it's great, but who knows how long it will work?" Anthony Pecnik said. "It beats walking around with a pocket full of quarters. Of course, you need a three-week course to understand the thing."

--Sister Delia Dowling, academic dean at the College of Notre Dame in Baltimore, had it all figured out. Since this is the year--and month--when the biggest brood of cicadas emerge from the ground after spending 17 years feeding on tree roots, Sister Delia vowed that Saturday's graduation ceremony would not be disturbed by the insects' noisy mating calls. Sister Delia decided to hold the ceremony indoors, telling students and faculty that an outdoor ceremony would be a "total disaster." She said: "The cicadas could jump from gown to gown, tassel to tassel, with no regard to rank or degree. They could help themselves to the vegetable dip, cheese and punch. They could drone so loudly that the 262 (graduates) could not be heard. They could upstage our commencement speaker, Gov. Martha Layne Collins of Kentucky." As it turned out, the cicadas were quiet on that solemn day. But Sister Delia nonetheless found solace from on high: It rained.

--The 1987 prom at Stephen Decatur High School in Decatur, Ill., will be especially memorable for two sets of twins. They were not allowed in. Shelly and Sheila Fisher, both 18, and Denise and Darcie Holt, both 17, made good on their promise to attend the affair wearing tuxedo jackets, leotards and tights. But a security guard in the school's parking lot turned them away, warning they could be arrested for criminal trespassing if they tried to attend the prom without adhering to the dress code: dresses for girls and suits or tuxedos for boys. "We didn't want to start anything," Sheila said. "We weren't going to beat our way into the prom. I guess they're really scared of us, aren't they?" Principal Jack Kenny, ruler of the dress code, had "no comment at all."

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