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June 9, 2008 at 6:00 AM
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Crocodile may have been swimming star

ISLE OF PALMS, S.C., June 9 (UPI) -- A crocodile captured in Isle of Palms may actually have swum to the South Carolina city from Florida, natural resources officials say.

Steve Bennett, an amphibian and reptile conservation specialist in the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources, said the 6-foot reptile, thought to be an American crocodile, could easily have traveled miles up the Atlantic Coast from the Everglades in southern Florida to Isle of Palms, The (Charleston, S.C.) Post and Courier reported.

"It's not as ludicrous as you think. These are crocodile. They are not American alligators. These are saltwater animals," Bennett said. "Swimming a mile or two off the coast is nothing for a crocodile."

The crocodile was captured Thursday near a pier after managing to avoid trappers for weeks. Sgt. James Ryan of the Isle of Palms Police said residents were advised to stay clear of the potentially dangerous reptile.

"It's the same as when one turns up on the golf course -- 'Guess what? You better let him play through, because he belongs there and you don't,'" Ryan said.

The crocodile is protected under endangered species laws and would likely either be taken to an alligator park or a Florida preserve rather than be put down, The Post and Courier said.

Nude farmers really love their coffee

HONOLULU, June 9 (UPI) -- Eleven female Hawaiian farmers have posed nude, demurely, for a calendar to promote the pricey Kona coffee bean, project organizers say.

Project leader Mary Lou Moss said the nude calendar featuring Kona Coffee Farmers Association farmers -- who are all more than 50 years old -- is meant to support legislation being considered by the Hawaii Legislature, the Honolulu Star-Bulletin reported. Moss said the measure would require all coffee labeled "Kona" to contain beans grown on the western side of the Big Island.

The legislation came about after Kona growers complained other coffee companies used the Kona name despite including as little as 10 percent of the beans in their blends. Moss said such diluted products were damaging the Kona name and said she hoped "The Naked Truth about 100 Percent Kona Coffee" calendar would bring attention to the situation.

Meanwhile, Moss's husband, Chuck, said having his wife appear unclothed in the 2009 calendar eventually grew on him.

"At first I thought it was par for the course. She's very energetic and makes things happen," he told the Star-Bulletin. "But it's tastefully done and I think it was a good idea."

New outhouse too fancy for farmer

CINCINNATI, June 9 (UPI) -- A new outhouse built by a Cincinnati non-profit group is simply too fancy for Elbert "Lew" Preston, the Ohio farmer says.

The 79-year-old retired tobacco farmer said the concrete and treated lumber outhouse built by People Working Cooperatively is a far cry from the simple wooden structure he once had sitting above a hole in the ground, The Cincinnati Enquirer reported.

"It's too nice and complicated to be an outhouse," Preston said. "I call it a privy."

The senior citizen said his old outhouse not only survived decades of usage, but even remained in service after being uprooted by a tornado in 1997.

A visit by board of health officials resulted in the outhouse being condemned. That's when People Working Cooperatively offered to build a new structure for Preston.

He says he misses his dilapidated outhouse but he's relieved he can still relieve himself outside.

"When you're in a house, sounds carry," Preston told the Enquirer. "Everybody knows your business."

Crosswalks newest undercover police beat

CHICAGO, June 9 (UPI) -- The upcoming use of undercover police officers at Chicago crosswalks may not be "Serpico," but is a safety necessity, police officials say.

While the undercover efforts pale in comparison to those in the 1973 police corruption movie, Chicago Police Department Traffic Department Cmdr. Robert Evans said the newest police focus is meant to ensure the safety of pedestrians, the Chicago Tribune reported.

The police official said officers will pose as civilians and issue warning citations to those drivers who do not give pedestrians the right of way at crosswalks.

Evans said the undercover assignments may not be full of adventure but that does not mean there is no risk involved.

"We are not going to put officers in jeopardy to make a point," Evans explained. "But any day you put on a police uniform, or put on plainclothes, you are taking risks."

Chicago area resident Gary Hackley suggested the fault may actually lay with pedestrians.

"Chicagoans routinely wander across the middle of streets, engrossed in cell phone calls or sipping their coffee, and leave it to drivers to keep them safe," he told the Tribune.

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