President Gives Out Phone Number

Most world leaders know better than to give out their private phone numbers. Not so Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono (search) of Indonesia.

The first directly elected president of the sprawling Southeast Asian country, he's always tried to be accessible to his 240 million fellow citizens.

But on Saturday, during a public appearance with a group of farmers and fishermen in western Java, the retired general gave out his cell-phone number and invited people to contact him, according to wire and news reports.

"If you think [we] don't care, never come to you and your problems are left unsettled, my cellular phone is active 24 hours a day," Yudhoyono said, according to the BBC.

Media outlets in the former military dictatorship went wild with the number, and the calls and text messages — more than 3,000 in total — began pouring in.

By the next morning, Yudhoyono's phone had become overloaded and crashed.

"We apologize to all Indonesian people over this happening," said presidential spokesman Andi Alfian Mallarangeng on Sunday, according to the Associated Press. "We are trying to find out ways of creating a system that is able to accommodate so [many] messages."

Mallarangeng said most of the calls were to complain about local problems, while some were just friendly inquiries about Yudhoyono's health and well-being.

Instead of being put off by the huge volume of calls, Yudhoyono ordered five more numbers set up, according to Mallarangeng, as well as a computerized switchboard to route the calls.

Interested readers can reach the president directly at 011 62 811 109 949.

— Thanks to Out There reader Peter L.

Million Dollars Won for Second Time

BETHLEHEM, Pa. (AP) — Some people seem to have all the luck. Just ask Donna Goeppert.

Earlier this year, she won $1 million playing a Pennsylvania Lottery (search) scratch-off ticket, then turned around and won another million-dollar jackpot last week.

"What are the odds of that?" the 55-year-old woman said, calling her good fortune "just unbelievable."

The odds of winning just once are 1.44 million-to-1, according to state lottery officials. Lehigh University professor Bob Storer placed the odds of winning twice at 419 million-to-1.

Goeppert's win in January allowed her to pay off her mortgage and her children's mortgages, buy a new Cadillac and save money for her grandchildren's education. She purchased her most recent winning ticket for $20.

Lottery officials confirmed Goeppert has filed a claim for the jackpot, which will take four to six weeks to verify.

Dog's Barks Save Drowning Boy

VANCOUVER, Wash. (AP) — A barking family dog helped parents save the life of a 2-year-old boy who fell into a pond at a golf course near their home.

Young Sammy Lobey disappeared from the front yard of his parents' home last Tuesday night. The parents began a frantic search, and when Ronald Lobey called for his 2-year-old black Lab, Maddie, the dog barked from behind a neighbor's house across the street.

"I yelled for my dog and she barked" but refused to leave the pond, where Ronald Lobey found his son, submerged and unconscious.

The father began performing CPR and got the boy breathing.

By the time medics arrived, Sammy was awake and crying. The boy was taken to Southwest Washington Medical Center (search), later transferred to Legacy Emanuel Hospital (search) in Portland, Ore., and came home Wednesday night.

Lobey said doctors told them the boy was not deprived of oxygen long enough to suffer any long-term damage.

"If Maddie has not barked, we probably would not have found that baby in time to save his life," Lobey said. "Everything came out good."

Man: Tortoises in Trunk Meant for Soup

PALM HARBOR, Fla. (AP) — Deputies searching an impounded car found six live gopher tortoises (search) in the trunk, officials said.

Carl Franklin King, 43, reportedly told the deputies that he wanted to cook the tortoises in a soup, police said.

King faced several outstanding warrants for his arrest when Pinellas County Sheriff's deputies stopped his car Saturday night in Palm Harbor, police said.

Deputies found the tortoises after they impounded King's car and searched the trunk, police said.

King was charged with animal cruelty in addition to unrelated charges of burglary and criminal mischief from the outstanding warrants.

The tortoises survived and were released, said Gary Morse, a spokesman for the Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission (search).

Intentionally harming or killing a gopher tortoise is punishable by six months in jail and a $500 fine.

Gator on the Loose in Wine Country

NAPA, Calif. (AP) — Forget the tourists: An alligator apparently decided to make itself at home in wine country, settling down in a woman's Napa Valley (search) backyard.

Greg Poulter said he was working in his garage last Wednesday when he heard his neighbor's "little voice hollering."

"She said she had a big lizard or something in her backyard," he recounted.

Poulter, 68, ran over and grabbed the three-foot alligator by the back of its head, but said it "whipped around a few times and was hissing at me."

He managed to wrestle the animal into a dog cage and even tried to feed it dog food before passing it along to officials from the state Department of Fish and Game, who believe it was an escaped pet.

"It is a prohibited species. They aren't allowed to be in California within certain circumstances," said Lt. Don Richardson.

The gator's fate has yet to be determined.

Dead Man's Family Stuck With Locked Safes

LAWTON, Okla. (AP) — Steve Lee loved the thrill of cracking open a safe after he figured out the combination.

Now, family members are trying to figure out how to move the giant fixtures from the spot they've occupied for years outside his former business.

Lee kept a half-dozen safes outside his corner store, but after his death in 2000, no one has the combinations — or the means to move them.

An attempt to move one of the cannonball safes caused a hoist truck to teeter, meaning it weighs at least the truck's 3,000-pound lift capacity.

Glennis Lee said her husband occasionally would bring the massive safes home with the help of a wrecker or other equipment. Each came with a story, whether it contained guarded valuables for an individual or cash for a bank. And many came with a mystery.

Lee said her husband imagined he'd run across a lost treasure someday.

"That was always Steve's big dream," his widow said. "I'm sure that would be every locksmith's dream."

As far as his family knows, the closest Lee came was a roll of quarters.

However, he hid his own treasure, a coin collection worth $4,500, inside one of the safes out on the sidewalk. When he died, the new shop owner, Clarence Weber, cracked open the safe for the family.

Family members doubt the other locked safes that remain hold any valuables.

"Nobody's going to traipse off in the middle of the night with them," Glennis Lee said. "It's kind of like moving a house."

Compiled by's Paul Wagenseil.

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