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Thursday, Jan. 8, 2004 02:33 pm

Quick takes

NO. 1 WITH A BULLET

It seemed like a romantic way to ring in the New Year -- going downtown, watching the fireworks, holding hands with your husband. But for Marla and Rob Tebbenkamp, that moment was interrupted by what Marla describes as an "intense kind of shock, kind of pain" in her arm.

"Our hands just kind of broke apart, and Rob was like, 'What was that?' " Marla recalls. She told him someone must have thrown a rock at her. But when she looked down at her arm, she saw a bullet lodged in her right forearm, about an inch above her wrist.

Police later said she had been the victim of a stray bullet fired into the air. "I just kept thinking if I can get it out, maybe it won't hurt so bad," Marla says. So this 23-year-old schoolteacher pulled the bullet out of her arm. "I didn't start freaking out until I got to the hospital," she says.

Marla, who lives in Fargo, N.D., grew up in the Springfield area and came home to spend the holidays with her grandparents. But she says next New Year's Eve probably won't be spent in Springfield. "I don't know. I kinda doubt it," she says.

GET YOUR KICKS

Tom Teague, founding president of the Route 66 Association of Illinois and a frequent Illinois Times contributor, hosts a public meeting in Staunton for individuals interested in preserving the Mother Road. Last year, Route 66 advocates in southern Illinois helped restore the Soulsby Shell Station in Mount Olive. This year, Teague is hoping they'll find a home for the southern branch of the Route 66 Hall of Fame. The meeting begins at 1 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 11, in the conference room of the Staunton Super 8.

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