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June 4, 2010 at 6:00 AM
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'World's ugliest dog' dead at 17-years-old

PIGEON FORGE, Tenn., June 4 (UPI) -- A Tennessee canine dubbed the "World's Ugliest Dog" for 2009 has died at age 17, its owner said.

Dawn Goehring of Pigeon Forge said Miss Ellie, the Chinese Crested (hairless) dog she adopted eight years ago, raised more than $100,000 for the Humane Society and animal shelters during various ugly dog competitions, including the Animal Planet 2009 "World's Ugliest Dog" pageant, which named the canine its champion, the New York Daily News reported.

Goehring said Miss Ellie also caught the public's attention with appearances on Animal Planet's "Dogs 101," billboards bearing its unmistakable likeness and walk-ons at the local Pigeon Forge Comedy Barn.

Goehring said the mayor of Pigeon Forge named Nov. 12 "Miss Ellie Day" in honor of the canine.

Crasher attended four funerals a week

WELLINGTON, New Zealand, June 4 (UPI) -- Funeral directors in New Zealand say they are keeping an eye out for a man spotted crashing multiple funerals for the free food.

Danny Langstraat, a director of Harbour City Funeral Home in Wellington, said a picture of the man, dubbed the "Grim Eater," was distributed to the company's branch offices with a warning that he was spotted at several funerals, up to four events a week, attempting to take food home from the ceremonies, The Wellington Dominion Post reported.

"He was showing up to funeral after funeral and, without a doubt, he didn't know the deceased," Langstraat said.

He said the man, described as in his 40s, was respectably dressed and behaved as a mourner would until the time came to eat.

"Certainly, he had a backpack with some Tupperware containers so, when people weren't looking, he was stocking up," Langstraat said.

He said the man has not been seen at a funeral since an employee took him aside during a recent ceremony and told him taking food home was not allowed.

Tony Garing, president of the Funeral Directors Association, said it would be difficult to legally ban someone from a funeral home.

"If it's in a church, or even in a funeral home, if a notice has been published in the paper it's essentially a public event," he said.

Biden calls bridge inspector's wife

NEW YORK, June 4 (UPI) -- A chief inspector for New York's Brooklyn Bridge renovation project said he talked U.S. Vice President Joe Biden into calling his wife, shocking her.

Tom Shepherd, 44, a city Department of Transportation Inspector working on the bridge project, said he told his wife, Betty, he might be meeting Wednesday with Biden, so he promised to "tell Joe you said hello," the New York Post reported.

Shepherd said he mentioned the conversation when he met with the vice president later in the day and Biden immediately suggested he call Betty on his cellphone.

"I'm Vice President Joe Biden. I'm here to make sure your husband isn't messing up the bridge," Biden told Shepherd's surprised wife.

"I was shocked. If he didn't have such a distinctive voice, I would have thought Tom was messing with me," Betty Shepherd said.

Bill Gates's dad talks teen troubles

NEW YORK, June 4 (UPI) -- The father of Microsoft founder Bill Gates said at a New York speaking engagement with his son that the software billionaire was a problem teenager.

Bill Gates Sr., 84, told the sold-out audience Wednesday young Bill Gates Jr., who was known as Trey at home, had numerous discipline problems as a young teenager that landed his family in therapy for two years, the New York Daily News reported.

"Our family was pretty typical as families go, with conflicts arising between parents and children at a certain age," Gates Sr. said. "There's fighting against discipline, and that's the situation we had. In this particular case it was mostly between Bill and his mother."

Gates Sr. said the parents "would go to this consultant, and then Trey would go in. And eventually, this consultant said to us, 'You know, you have this war going on with your son, and you really should understand something: He's going to win.'"

Gates Jr. admitted to his teenage problems.

"Mom was on the front line," he said of his late mother Mary. "But Dad was in reserve."

"I had a lot of fun growing up," the Microsoft founder said. "I'm not sure I always made it fun. But maybe we could let parents here know that a very energetic kid who's pushing hard on the boundaries might turn out OK?"

"I think you turned out OK," his father replied.

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