Their 911 Is Long-Distance Call

Space-age technology will soon be making life a lot better for the 47 inhabitants of Pitcairn Island. The remote South Pacific island, home to, among others, descendants of mutineers of the HMS Bounty in 1789, will be linked to Resurrection Hospital in Chicago, 7,000 miles away, with the help of a U.S. government satellite. The British colony in August will be able to dial the hospital’s emergency room direct to get medical advice. Now, the only medically trained person on the 2-mile-long, 1-mile-wide island is a nurse. Dr. David Meyers, emergency medical director at Resurrection, said the link will allow the nurse to consult doctors on heart attacks, major infections and poisonings--"kind of like calling 911 here.” The only means of communication today is by shortwave radio, and islanders wait for passing freighters to take them to the nearest island for medical care. For a number of years, the islanders were aided by Dr. Juan Drackenburg, a Glendale doctor, who provided medical assistance by way of his ham radio.

--Luck probably had a small hand in it but Rita Norr’s brainpower was obviously the deciding factor. Norr, of New York City, who has three children and admits to being “fortyish,” defeated 340 top Scrabble players in taking first place at an international competition in Las Vegas. “She became the first woman in the history of organized Scrabble competitions to win the event,” said John D. Williams, director of Scrabble Players Inc., a group that has 12,000 members in the United States and Canada. “People actually go into training for the event by studying word lists, playing endless matches against computers and running and doing aerobics to increase stamina.” Contestants played up to six games a day, with scores ranging from 400 to 500 points a game. “I don’t remember being good at spelling bees,” the reigning Scrabble queen said.

--No one likes to get a bill, least of all Mother Teresa. So when her Missionaries of Charity Order in Nairobi, Kenya, was billed for water, Mother Teresa traveled from her headquarters in Calcutta to Nairobi to turn the bill in to Nairobi City Commission Chairman Ngala Mwendwa, saying the order could not pay it. The amount of the bill for the order that cares for 800 slum children at Huruma was not disclosed. “I do not intend to give the government any money that should instead go to serving the poorest of the poor,” Mother Teresa, 76, told Mwendwa. “We have many sick and dying people in the home . . . who need plenty of water. Our water bills are very high, and I would appreciate it if you can provide such water for free.” Mwendwa promised: “Your application will be considered favorably.”