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— A San Diego company specializing in scattering cremation ashes at sea says business is up since the Kennedy family deposited the cremated remains of John F. Kennedy, Jr. last month off Martha's Vineyard. Anya and Ken Shortridge, who run Ashes on the Sea, say that hits on the company website jumped from 150 times a week prior to July 17 to 450 afterwards. "My husband and I were just talking about this," Anya told the magazine Death Care Business. "I really think that JFK Jr. was looked at as such a good, humble man that his family's decision to scatter his ashes at sea...will make scattering at sea more popular." The Shortridges' company handles all details of the ceremony, and ashes can be mailed in. "We videotape everything, especially the unattended ceremonies," Anya told the magazine. "Anyone can request [the tape] at any time." ... Sign-on San Diego, the website of the Union-Tribune, ran into a bout of bad timing two weeks ago. Just as a new advertising campaign for the site was breaking on local bus-stop shelters, one of the electrified kiosks shorted out and electrocuted an innocent bystander. The ads proclaimed, "We really know San Diego."

Super Bill

A big San Diego law firm is drawing the scrutiny of Ohio officials concerned about the cost of hiring outside lawyers to handle state business. Luce, Forward, Hamilton and Scripps billed the state for about $1.5 million between 1996 and 1998, for "work involving investments by state retirement systems in California. That's the highest amount of any out-of-state firm," reports the Dayton Daily News. The Luce bill was second only to the Columbus, Ohio firm of Vorys, Sater, Seymour & Pease, which charged the state $3.2 million, according to the paper ... The Pentagon is trying to find hundreds of millions of dollars of excess sensitive military equipment that were shipped off for disposal but later lost track of, according to the magazine Defense Weekly. A study by the House Armed Services Committee reported that the lost loot included two shipments by the Navy to San Diego of a "sensitive wiring assembly used for encrypted electronic communications."

Crash and Burn

A record-setting $30 million settlement between a United States-based manufacturer of clothing in Mexico and the families of 14 Mexican workers killed in a company bus crash isn't sitting well with Luis Alberto Pelayo, director of the Maquiladora Association in Tijuana, the nation's twin plant capital. The company bus had run into a ditch, overturned, and caught on fire en route to work in June 1997. Fourteen sewing-machine operators were killed and 12 others injured, according to the Houston Chronicle. The Salant Co. of New York settled the case after a trial in Eagle Pass, Texas, and there's the rub, according to Tijuana's Pelayo. "I think that the cases that happen in Mexico should be tried here in Mexico," the paper quoted him as saying ... Rhino Linings, U.S.A., a San Diego outfit that makes plastic coverings for the beds of pickup trucks, is causing a stir at the Indiana State Fair. But the ruckus isn't sitting well with the company's competition. It seems Rhino locked up exclusive exhibition rights at the fair for three years by paying a $31,500 fee. "It's really very upsetting," competitor Michelle Hutchek told the Indianapolis Star. "What it boils down to is that they're blocking free enterprise. They're not giving people a choice."... Suffering from lung and brain cancer, a former star of the WNBA's Houston Comets returned from a Tijuana cancer clinic last week to enter a Texas hospital. The condition of Kim Perrot, 32, was said to be serious.

Stomping on Stamper

Ex-San Diego cop Norm Stamper is still in hot water up north. Stamper, now police chief of Seattle, has been the target of an ongoing investigation into his management style. According to the Seattle Times, "a stinging report to be delivered to Seattle Mayor Paul Schell later this month will contend that Police Chief Norm Stamper became disconnected from the daily operation of his department, leading to serious breakdowns in internal investigations." Some blame Stamper for internal oversight failures that allowed homicide detectives to steal $10,000 from a dead man's belongings in 1996 and hide the theft with assistance from their sergeant.

Contributor: Matt Potter

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