95-year-old woman earns history degree
KANSAS CITY, Kan., April 30 (UPI) -- A 95-year-old Kansas woman is set to become the world's oldest college graduate when she walks across the stage at Fort Hays State University.
Nola Ochs -- who is scheduled to receive her degree in history in two weeks -- was born in 1911 and graduated high school just as the Great Depression was beginning, The Kansas City Star reported.
Ochs is said to be greatly admired by professors and students alike on the Fort Hays campus. Her research papers reportedly show model work and she is known as an excellent storyteller -- often reliving history in class for other, much younger students, the newspaper said.
Ochs is also known for having an incredible amount of energy. Before the grandmother and great-grandmother earns her Guinness World Record as oldest college grad, she has course papers to finish, studying to do and a flurry of media attention to cope with.
None of which is reported to be a problem for her. One source told the star Ochs has said she is very much enjoying it all.
Bully for bulldogs
MILWAUKEE, April 30 (UPI) -- About 20 wrinkly, drooling U.S. bulldogs had their day as they waddled in tribute to National Bulldogs are Beautiful Day.
"They're just big, lovely couch potatoes," said Jackie Valent, a bulldog buff who founded the holiday and organized Saturday's short parade.
The parade participants included Cupcake, Stinky and Hobart, who sniffed each other, while owners compared doggy arthritis medication and shared a cake baked in the shape of a bulldog, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported.
More than being just a pooch pageant, the parade was about appreciating difference, said Valent. While bulldogs may appear grouchy with their wrinkly face and a tendency to huff and puff, they are loyal, loving and sweet -- just as people can be, Valent said.
"We tend to categorize people and label people, and if we respected each other, we'd be in a better place," Valent said.
New Mexico State on fire for chiles
LAS CRUCES, N.M., April 30 (UPI) -- New Mexico State University is a hotbed of chile pepper innovation where scientists have created more than two dozen new strains during the last two decades.
Researchers at NMSU design equipment to harvest and process peppers while geneticists try to modify the fiery fruit to resist diseases, The Los Angeles Times reported.
The university recently scored a coup when its research got a pepper from northeastern India declared the hottest chile in the world by the Guinness World Records.
Professor Paul Bosland founded the Chile Pepper Institute in 1992 to make the university the chile pepper center of the world.
Bosland won Harvard's "Ig Noble Prize" for dubious achievement when he developed a pepper with no heat that is used to thicken salsa.
"I got e-mails accusing me of selling my soul to the devil after that one," Bosland said.
Jails give amenities to inmates with cash
SANTA ANA, Calif., April 30 (UPI) -- Some county jails in the United States have implemented a program that allows inmates to pay by the day for upgraded living conditions.
A jail in Santa Ana, Calif., allows inmates guilty of non-violent crimes to pay $75 to $127 a day to serve their time in a relatively clean and quiet section of the jail, The New York Times reported. Some experts called the self-pay jails a good alternative for ordinary citizens who may not fare so well in a typical county jail environment, where gangs and violence are regular problems.
Others see self-pay jails as an unfair, the newspaper said.
"It seems to be to be a little unfair," said Mike Jackson of the National Sheriff's Association. "Two people come in, have the same offense, and the guy who has money gets to pay to stay and the other doesn't. The system is supposed to be equitable."
In some self-pay jail facilities, computers and even iPods are allowed -- and inmates are able to serve on a work furlough, going to their jobs and returning to the jail at the end of the day, the Times reported.