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Student on board

Two Illinois-based entrepreneurs say they've invented a product that will help make the road safer for student drivers and a little less taxing for parents.

Wheeley, a sticker shaped like a smiley-face that reads "student driver," can be placed in a car's rearview mirror to alert surrounding drivers that there's a rookie in their midst.

"The decal will tell other drivers to give these kids a little space," said Andrea White, a co-founder of Focus on Safety, the Glenview, Ill.-based manufacturer. She hopes the sign will help make the process of learning to drive a little less daunting.

Surprise victory

Daniel Cook spent three times more money on an opponent's campaign for a suburban Minneapolis school board seat than he did on his own. He even voted for the other guy.

But Mr. Cook was elected to the Anoka-Hennepin school board anyway.

In September, Mr. Cook paid the $2 filing fee to enter the race in the 40,000-student district, but later decided to drop out when he discovered he would be running against a friend.

It was too late to remove his name from the ballot, though, so Mr. Cook called friends and told them not to vote for him. The computer consultant even offered his help with a brochure for his friend and fellow candidate, Nickolas Horning. He gave Mr. Horning a ream of colored paper valued at $6, tripling his expenditure on his own aborted race.

But when the votes were counted, Mr. Cook was elected to the three-year position with a total of 3,700 votes. Another candidate, Robert Comeau, had 3,187, and Mr. Horning had 2,347.

Mr. Cook, who has an 11-year-old son in the district, still isn't sure how he got so many votes.

He has an idea, though. "It's divine intervention. God has a plan, and I'm part of that plan," the newly elected board member said.

Mr. Cook said his friend was taking the loss well. ''He says, 'At least one of us got in.'"

--JESSICA PORTNER & LAURA LANG

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