To anyone else who had the same problem, I thought i'd share the solution
that was passed on to me. It was suggested that counting the # of characters
in a string would work, and it does, but a better way to do it as not to cut
yourself off in mid sentence is to count the # of actual words.

-- snipity snip --
function make_newsbite($body, $len){ // $body is
article $len is maxwords
                 $words = Array();
                 preg_match_all('/([^ ]*) */', $body, $words); // separate
string into words array
                 for($n = 0; $n <= $len; $n++){ // for count words to len
                         $newsbite .= $words[0][$n] . ' '; // append words
to $newsbite
                 return $newsbite;
-- snipity snip --

use it like

$lilnews = make_newsbite($bignews, 80);

Hope this solution helps others.

A big thanks to Don Read for this code.

if ( strlen($foo) > 100) {
    echo substr($foo,0,100), ' <A HREF="/showmore.php">More ...</A>';
} else {
    echo $foo;

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