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Archive for Sunday, May 23, 2004

Briefly

May 23, 2004

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Topeka

Witness remembers seeing Bonnie and Clyde

Seven-year-old Ken Cowan was playing with three friends in Topeka when they noticed a woman standing on the running board of a passing car and looking into vehicles.

Seventy years later, Cowan recalls the day Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow stole their last car -- the one in which they were killed almost a month later in a volley of bullets on a gravel Louisiana road.

Today is the anniversary of the day Bonnie and Clyde were gunned down in an ambush by law enforcement officers. The ambush, set up by the father of a friend, ended a two-year spree of robberies and at least 12 homicides.

Cowan talked about Topeka's link to the infamous duo last week.

The car was stolen on April 29, 1934, from a Topeka driveway as Cowan and his friends played in a grassy, vacant lot across the street. Bonnie and Clyde were killed May 23, less than a month later. She was 23, he was 25.

Cowan remembers the car's owner, Ruth Warren, coming out of her home and asking the boys if they had seen who took her car. They told her about the woman they had seen passing by.

St. Louis

Grandpa earns degree years after losing vision

The fact that Bob Brophy never made it through high school makes him all the more proud that he now has a college degree. How he did that -- with perfect grades -- has his grandson and class in awe.

"It takes a lot to get a 4.0 in college; I'm sure it's even tougher when you're 72 and blind," 21-year-old Jason White said earlier this month, hours after graduating with his grandpa from Jefferson College in Hillsboro, south of St. Louis.

Brophy was about 10 when his vision first began failing him. Within years, a juvenile form of macular degeneration had stolen his eyesight, prompting him to abandon high school after his sophomore year.

Years ago, he found computer software that could read back words he typed, "giving me access to all printed materials I didn't have before." Another program read back pages he scanned into the computer.

All of it, he exclaimed, "opened up all the libraries of the world."

Brophy received an associates degree in liberal arts and a degree for his honors work. His new quest? Study for a bachelor's degree in behavioral science from St. Louis' Missouri Baptist University, with hopes of becoming a counselor.

He knows it's doable. After all, "I've been able to do about everything I wanted to do."

Texas

Police arrest scofflaw, 97, for unpaid ticket

Police in Highland Park, Texas, do not practice age discrimination. Lawbreakers there face the consequences -- even those who are nearly a century old. Harriette "Dolly" Kelton -- age 97 -- is proof.

Last week, police in the ritzy Dallas enclave stopped Kelton for having expired inspection and registration stickers. When they discovered a warrant for her arrest for failure to pay a previous traffic ticket, police handcuffed Kelton and hauled her to the slammer in a squad car.

Kelton was released on her own recognizance, said her son, David Kelton, a district court judge. Some family members were dismayed that police did not bend arrest rules for such a senior member of the community, he said.

The initial ticket had apparently slipped Kelton's mind, David Kelton said.

Perhaps that is because she is too busy. Kelton does her own cooking and chores, and is active in her church, her son said.

"If you ever saw her," he said, "you'd think she was 70."

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