Elephant enclosed in soap bubble
PERRIS, Calif., April 9 (UPI) -- The owners of a Perris, Calif., elephant ranch say an artist has set what is believed to be a world record for the largest mammal to be enclosed in a bubble.
Artist Fan Yang wrapped Tai, a female Asian elephant, in a soap bubble before an audience that included Perris Mayor Daryl Busch, ranch owners Gary and Kari Johnson and representatives from Riverside County Animal Services and Perris Animal Control, the Riverside (Calif.) Press-Enterprise reported Wednesday.
Yang placed the elephant on a platform and used a pulley system of bubble wands to create a soapy circle around the pachyderm.
The event had originally been planned for a public showing at the Santa Ana Discovery Science Center, but was switched to a private affair at the ranch after animal-rights advocates criticized the plan.
"What we were doing in no way hurt the elephant. We know. We are the experts. That's what we do," Kari Johnson said. "Nobody protects the elephants better than we do."
Les Schobert, one of 11 current and former zoo professionals who signed a letter urging the Santa Ana center to abandon the plan, said the critics took issue with "the mind-set that tells people elephants are just here for us to use any way we want."
The feat has been submitted to Guinness World Records for certification.
Man: No offense meant by Hispanic comment
DENVER, April 9 (UPI) -- A Denver city employee says he meant no offense when he asked Hispanic co-workers how much it costs their "people to get across the border these days."
The query cost Jack Burghardt, an administrative support assistant in the Clerk and Recorder's Office, a suspension but he won the appeal of his case, The Rocky Mountain News reported Wednesday.
Burghardt, a Polish immigrant, "testified that he did not intend to be demeaning in asking the question, which came to his mind in thinking about the movie 'Fast Food Nation,'" city documents said.
"As a result of the discipline, (Burghardt) states he now understands that a question such as the one he asked can be offensive," the documents said.
The documents said "Fast Food Nation" concerns a meatpacking plant that employs undocumented workers from Mexico and produces tainted beef in unsafe and unsanitary working conditions. In one scene, according to the documents, a group of Mexicans paid a trucker to take them across the border and are later hired by the meatpacking plant.
"Their story forms one of the main plot lines in the movie," the documents stated.
Angry calls follow school cross-dress day
REEDSBURG, Wis., April 9 (UPI) -- A Reedsburg, Wis., elementary school received a flood of complaints after a Christian radio group condemned it for hosting an opposite gender dress-up day.
Pineview Elementary was sharply criticized by the Milwaukee-based Voice of Christian Youth America radio network after it gave students the option of showing up for school dressed as an elderly person or someone of the opposite gender as part of its annual Wacky Week, which included other themed-costume days, the Reedsburg Times-Press reported Wednesday.
The network sent out a special broadcast on nine Wisconsin radio stations Friday that accused the school of promoting alternative lifestyles with the cross-dressing event.
"We believe it's the wrong message to send to elementary students," said Jim Schneider, program director for VCY America, said. "Our station is one that promotes traditional family values. It concerns us when a school district strikes at the heart and core of the Biblical values. To promote this to elementary school students is a great error."
School and district administrators said they received a barrage of angry calls sparked by the broadcast.
"The promotion of transgenderism -- that was not our purpose," District Administrator Tom Benson said. "Our purpose was to have a Wacky Week mixing in a bit of silliness with our reading, writing and arithmetic."
The Fall's Smith says he slit a squirrel
LONDON, April 9 (UPI) -- Britain's humane society says it's investigating The Fall's frontman Mark E. Smith for allegedly lopping off a squirrel's head with a hedge trimmer.
The punk rocker reportedly bragged to a music magazine he "killed a couple" of endangered squirrels recently, The Daily Mail reported Wednesday.
If the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals' investigation confirms Smith's claim of a backyard beheading, the 51-year-old musician could be prosecuted under the Wildlife and Countryside Act.
The singer said he would "happily set about an endangered red squirrel with a set of professional hedge clippers," the British newspaper reported.
"Squirrels mean nothing to me. I killed a couple last weekend actually," Smith allegedly said during the magazine interview.
"The comments made by Mark E. Smith are extremely irresponsible and he has basically admitted to committing an offense under the Wildlife and Countryside Act by killing two red squirrels," said RSPCA spokeswoman Klare Kennett.
Red squirrels are "highly protected," Kennett said, and a person convicted of killing, harming or taking red squirrels from the wild could be sentenced up to six months in prison and a fined up to $40,000.
|Additional Odd News Stories|
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