Bear Roams Auto Dealership

Maybe he was just looking for a good deal on a car.

Staffers at Automobile International (search) in North Clarendon, Vt., walked into work Monday morning to discover that a bear had roamed through the building over the weekend, reports the Rutland (Vt.) Herald.

"We thought at first it was a break-in," said co-owner A.J. Michel, "until we saw the tracks."

The furry intruder, thought to be a black bear (search), common in the Northeast, broke though a display window sometime Sunday and tried every possible exit before finally going back out the way it came.

Smudges were on the windows. Claw marks were on the desks and walls. Ceiling tiles were knocked loose. A pile of bear droppings lay in the middle of the showroom floor.

"I found an invoice on my desk with a big paw print on it," saleswoman Mitzi Newton told the newspaper. "It gives me the heebie-jeebies."

Don Isabelle, the local game warden, thinks the bear probably was scared or even hit by a car traveling busy Route 7 (search), right outside the dealership's windows.

"Usually, there's food involved if they're breaking into houses, and there was none of that involved in this situation," said Isabelle. "Or maybe he just wanted to test-drive a car and didn't want to wait until they were open."

Speaking of the showroom cars, they were just about the only items in the dealership left untouched.

Celeste Michel, A.J. Michel's sister, thought it might be time for a sales event to pay for the damage.

"We're thinking of offering a bear promotional," she told the Herald. "We're going to call it the 'bear minimum' on prices."

— Thanks to Out There reader Ben C. and Kris M.

Stretch, Pump, Flex — and Click

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — It might not sound too strenuous, but some Minneapolis students are taking physical education courses online.

Jan Braaten, the district's lead teacher for physical education and health, said her staff was leery of the idea at first.

"It's kind of an oxymoron to have online PE," she said.

But Braaten and others who developed the class are proud of their creation and say it's drawing interest from around the state and beyond. Online physical education is being offered this summer as well.

Online learning offers a way for busy students to shoehorn the state-required academic courses and the electives they want into their schedules.

The course begins and ends with face-to-face meetings between student and teacher.

Those sessions include testing components of fitness such as strength, flexibility and endurance.

Students also are provided with a heart monitor and record its readings and how hard they perceive they're working, along with other workout notes, in an activity journal. They e-mail their work for each weekly unit to teachers.

"It's sort of counterintuitive," concedes Judy McQuade, mother of student Chris Ransom. "Snicker, snicker — do I just click my mouse?"

— Thanks to Out There reader Rob E.

A Bit o' Honey

TIPPERARY, Ireland (AP) — An Irish man tried to break a world record Saturday by coaxing more than 350,000 bees to land on his body, but the bees just wouldn't settle.

In nearly two hours, Philip McCabe (search), 59, got only 200,000 black bees — or 60 pounds of them — to cover him.

"We had bees flying around so much, we couldn't get them to land," McCabe said. He blamed it on the chilly 63-degree Fahrenheit weather.

Had it been 80 degrees Fahrenheit, the bees would have been warm enough follow their docile queen bee, which McCabe had on his chin.

McCabe said his feet fell asleep after about two hours, forcing him to get rid of the swarm before he fell over.

Seven bees stung McCabe's arms as he jumped from the scale, but he said he is used to stings and they didn't bother him.

He wore only underwear, a back brace and goggles.

A key challenge was remaining calm.

"If I was giving off a strong smell of aggression or anxiety, they'd sting me," McCabe said, adding that he stayed calm by thinking about his family and childhood. "I hadn't a fear in the world."

McCabe, who heads the Irish Beekeeper Association (search), said his attempt was part of his campaign to raise money to help fight poverty in Africa. He said he planned to try for the record again next year.

The current Guinness Record of 350,000 yellow bees on the body, or 87.5 pounds, was set in California in 1998.

Click in the photo box above to see a nearly nude Irishman covered with buzzing insects.

See You Later, Almost Alligator

EUGENE, Ore. (AP) — Found: One caiman, rather large, lizard-like, lots of sharp teeth. Contact the Lane County Animal Regulation Authority (search). Please. No questions asked.

When a resident looked out his window on Friday, he could have worn he saw an alligator. He was mostly right.

A 4-foot-long caiman, a relative of the alligator, was curled up under a parked pickup truck. Caimans are native to Central and South America.

"It was pretty dangerous," said Mike Wellington, program manager for the animal regulation authority. "It could definitely take down a small child or small animals."

Armed with a catchpole usually used on dogs, animal-control officers Bernard Perkins and Becky von Steine approached the caiman.

Perkins got the reptile into a large crate without any permanent damage to man or beast.

Over the weekend, it lounged at the animal shelter in a space usually reserved for homeless chickens.

"He's pretty happy," Wellington said.

It's legal to own such reptiles in Oregon, Wellington said, and the owner isn't in any trouble.

However, a neighbor says her cat is missing.

The animal authority is hoping the caiman's owner will claim him.

"We're not really set up for this kind of animal," Wellington said.

Malaysian Politicians to Catch Snakes

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) — The head of a Malaysian state government has ordered his coalition's legislators to learn how to catch snakes so that they can help people in distress, a newspaper reported Tuesday.

This is not the first time Syed Razak Syed Zain (search), the chief minister of Kedah state, has issued down-to-earth orders.

He has made it mandatory for the ruling Barisan Nasional (search) coalition lawmakers to learn paramedic skills, to perfect land and water rescue techniques, eat healthy food and to stay fit.

"Elected representatives must pass the acid test of being able to help people in distress, including knowing how to catch snakes, perform first aid and carry out rescue missions," Syed Razak was quoted as saying by the Star newspaper.

It said he has made it mandatory for the Barisan assemblymen to join the Civil Defense Force, to acquire such skills.

"I want leaders and officers to know what to do when they come across accidents or drowning cases. Otherwise they will be standing there watching helplessly as victims cry for help," he was quoted as saying.

Syed Razak, an honorary colonel in the Civil Defense Force, also invited the opposition Islamic party assemblymen to join the force.

Hawaiians Can Now Leave It All to Fido

HONOLULU (AP) — The audience was eager for the governor to put pen to paper. Some even drooled.

Canines of all sizes — and a spotted rabbit named Roxy — were among those gathered Friday at the Capitol to watch Gov. Linda Lingle (search) sign into law a measure that allows residents to leave a trust for the care of their dog, cat, or other domestic animal.

Lingle's two cats, Nani Girl and Stripes, were not in attendance.

"As you know, cats don't do as well in public settings like this as dogs do," Lingle said.

Friday also marked National "Take Your Pet to Work Day." Several legislators and a number of other workers showed off their four-legged friends, who mostly behaved.

"These aren't just pets. These are a part of the family. You miss them when you're away. You worry about them. They really are important parts of your life," Lingle said.

Animal-law attorney Emily Gardner said she met residents concerned about their animals and wanted to be able to provide for them after they died. While researching the topic, she found 20 states had legally enforceable trust laws for pets.

"So why not Hawaii? And now Hawaii does," she said.

Compiled by's Paul Wagenseil.

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