The "Tipsy Taxi" is being taken out of service in Pensacola, Fla. The reason? Too many repeat customers. West Florida Regional Medical Center began paying for taxi rides for motorists who were too drunk to drive during the 1984 New Year's weekend. The service was a hit and soon was expanded to all weekends, and then daily. But Steve Mahan, the hospital's assistant administrator, said: "We found that on non-holiday periods we had a very high prevalence of repeat callers." Sure enough, a closer examination showed that during holiday periods the service reached its intended clientele, but the rest of the time freeloaders used it as no-cost transportation. Mahan said the hospital has decided to drop the free rides except during major holiday weekends.
--He was a newspaperman, a nurse's aide and a factory worker. But Francis E. Albin of Brainard, Neb., who quit school at age 14 to support his family, just never found the time to get his high school equivalency diploma until he turned 88. Albin, whose failing eyesight forced him into retirement in 1968, was aided by three of his 10 children, who gave him some of the exams orally. He took the exams, ranging from English and math to sociology and science, three days a week for three weeks. And, said his daughter, Marie Bailey: "He didn't take review classes or brush up on anything, and he got all A's."
--Actress Sandy Duncan will take over the female lead in the NBC-TV series "Valerie," replacing Valerie Harper, whose salary agreement with producer Lorimar-Telepictures fell apart, the studio said. Also gone from the show is Harper's husband, co-executive producer Tony Cacciotti, Lorimar spokesman Barry Stagg said. The revised show will feature Duncan portraying Sandy Hogan, the sister of pilot Mike Hogan, who moves into the Hogan household to take over the care of her three nephews.
--Laurie Lamothe of Hamilton, Canada, knew she had a problem when she looked into her toilet bowl and two eyes looked back. They belonged to a neighbor's six-foot boa constrictor, which escaped down a toilet bowl about two months ago. To make matters worse, animal control officials removed the toilet and have been trying to lure the snake into the open by placing dead rats on the floor. It ate one of the rats when no one was watching but disappeared back down the drain.