Of Human Interest: News-lite

By PENNY NELSON BARTHOLOMEW, United Press International  |  April 4, 2002 at 5:42 AM
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An Australian blue heeler who survived an encounter with an alligator has been named the Heinz Pet Products 47th Dog Hero of the Year.

Two-year-old Blue saved her 85-year-old owner from an alligator after the woman slipped and couldn't get up again.

Ruth Gay was taking Blue for an evening walk along an alligator-infested canal behind her house in LaBelle, Fla., when she slipped on the wet grass and fell, breaking her nose and dislocating her shoulder. Unable to get up and not expecting her daughter and son-in-law home for several hours, Gay yelled for help while Blue lay at her side.

Suddenly, Blue growled and ran away into the darkness. Apparently, Gay's calls attracted the attention of an alligator that climbed the canal embankment about 50 feet from where Gay lay injured. Blue fought the alligator and, despite suffering numerous puncture wounds to his stomach, drove off the reptile.

When Gay's daughter, Sylvia Gibson, and husband Albert arrived home more than an hour later, Blue ran to their car, barking and jumping, and led them to where Gay had fallen. Both Gay and Blue underwent surgery to repair their injuries and both have since recovered.

"Blue, our 47th Dog Hero of the Year, is especially unique since we've never had a winner who fought an alligator -- he's a very brave dog," said John Essegian, general manager of Heinz Pet Products dog brands.

Heinz's tradition of canine heroism began in 1954 with the announcement of the first Dog Hero of the Year Award.


The Dave Matthews Band, SaveOurEnvironment.org and ice cream makers Ben & Jerry's have launched the One Sweet Whirled campaign to fight global warming.

It urges people to pledge to reduce their personal carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions by 2,000 pounds (emissions are measured in pounds). Shedding 2,000 pounds represents about a five-percent reduction in the average American's annual emissions. People can take the "Fight Global Warming: Lose 2,000 Pounds!" pledge by promising to make small, very do-able changes in their lives -- such as driving 15 fewer miles a week -- and by voicing their concern with political messages to Congress about efficiency legislation and the need for increased renewables (such as wind and solar power).

Dave Matthews Band One Sweet Whirled is also the name of a new Ben & Jerry's ice cream flavor. A portion of sales will go to support global warming initiatives.

The inspiration for the flavor name came from the Dave Matthews Band's environmental hit single "One Sweet World," from the band's debut album "Remember Two Things."

"We are honored that Ben & Jerry's offered us this flavor, 'One Sweet Whirled,' and asked us to partner with them and the nation's most influential environmental advocacy groups to help stop global warming," said DMB in a statement. "The campaign sounded great and when the first pint of 'One Sweet Whirled' didn't last long on the bus, it all came together for us."

(Web site: OneSweetWhirled.org)


THURSDAY: Today through April 10 is Hate Week, recognizing the day (April 4, 1984) fictional character Winston Smith began his diary in the novel "1984" with the words "Down with Big Brother."

It's National Alcohol Screening Day. (Web site: mentalhealthscreenings.org)

This is Victims of Violence Holy Day, one of the three Emancipation Days of Respect.

And Senegal celebrates its Independence Day today. The country achieved independence from France in 1960.

(Thanks to Chase's 2002 Calendar of Events)


Where and when was the first woman elected mayor in the United States?

Argonia, Kan., was the first city to elect a female mayor, on this date in 1887. Susanna Medora Salter received a two-thirds majority and served for one year for the salary of $1.

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