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Watercooler Stories

By DENNIS DAILY, United Press International   |   June 2, 2003 at 4:00 AM   |   Comments

EVEREST ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATED

Just days after the 50th anniversary of the first known conquest of Mount Everest, several groups have topped the world's highest mountain. Among the people going to the summit were two TV show contestants -- part of a reality show -- and a string of Colorado climbers.

The Denver Post says in the climbing world the 50th anniversary of the first successful attempt on the mountain, by Sir Edmund Hillary and native guide Tenzing Norgay, was indeed a big deal.

One climber who went to the top over the weekend was Aspen ski instructor Ted Mahon, along with a resident of Gunnison, Colo., Jesse Rickert. Both were contestants in a new reality TV show called "Global Extreme Challenge."

One of those who went to the top over the weekend was a guide for Alpine Adventures, Luis Benitaz. He's from Boulder, Colo. It was his third time at the top.


STATES SUE DONATIONS GROUPS

Some 34 states have joined with the Federal Trade Commission in warning Americans about several phone charities. The schemes include a Canadian-based book publishing company that solicited funds using a Seattle post office box.

The Seattle Post-Intelligencer says the secretaries of state joined with the federal agency in the lawsuits.

The book company was called DPS Activity Publishing, a children's publisher based in Alberta. It is accused of soliciting money from people under the guise of sending books to hospital wards.

The Post-Intelligencer says people need to be aware the number of scam artists is increasing. Here are some precautions:

-Be aware of emotional appeals, especially those that play on patriotism.

-Check the status of the charity by going to sccstate.wa.gov/charities on the Internet or call (800) 332-GIVE.

-Don't send cash or credit card information.

-Report suspicious companies to the FTC by calling (877) 382-4537.


CANADA TO FREE STRANDED WHALE

With the approval of American animal experts, Canadian officials say they are freeing a stranded Orca whale. The mammal epidemiologists tell the media the animal will be freed but will not be led back to other pods of whales.

Canadian officials will be warning sightseers and boaters in the region, about two hours north of the Seattle area, that they will be allowing Luna to leave, but won't render much further assistance.

There had been several project plans offered during the past few weeks to help the animal. One would have attached Luna to a boat and towed the whale into whale waters. Another would have scooped up the whale for movement to whale areas.

One expert told reporters a main concern is that the public not over-react to the release and distract the animal as it tries to get back to its family.


HOT WEATHER SEASON IS BIKING SEASON

With the return of good weather and the start of vacations, more and more people will be out biking. The folks at Consumer Reports have just rated some of the top bicycles in the country and have put them into three categories.

-In the area of Best Fitness Bike, the publication says three bikes are the best of the bunch. These bikes are upright position bikes, with lightweight frames and high quality components. They usually are used for regular fitness riding and for commuting. The bikes are: The Giant Cypress SX, selling for about $650; The Specialized Sirrus Expert bike, $750; and the Bianchi Strada bike, also $750.

-In the area of Best Road Bikes, three are also noted. These are described as aerodynamic riding bikes with drop handlebars, triple front chain rings and light frames, best for long-distance riding. The three are: The Bianchi Eros, priced at $1,050; the Klein Q-Carbon, $1,400; and the LeMond Tourmalet, about $1,100 in most stores.

-- The Best Comfort Bikes include three choices. These also are upright bikes with heavy frames, aimed for use in short-range biking and around the neighborhood. These are listed as: The Giant Cypress, $300; Specialized Crossroads bike, $250; and the Bianchi Avenue, about $320.

© 2003 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
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