Watercooler Stories

Aug. 3, 2012 at 6:30 AM
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Fisherman saves bear from Alaska whirlpool

ANCHORAGE, Alaska, Aug. 3 (UPI) -- A fisherman said he just couldn't ignore the terrified bear cub he rescued from a swirling whirlpool in an Alaskan river.

Mike Polocz of Soldotna said the hapless cub was struggling for its life after it was caught in the whirlpool on the upper Kenai River during a weekend fishing lesson with its siblings and big mama bear, which was watching ominously a short distance away.

"I couldn't watch this defenseless animal suffer," Polocz told the Anchorage Daily News. "I was ready to go in after it if it went under."

The brown bear cub, which looked to be 4-6 months old, actually tried to climb into the fishing net Polocz was using to try to push it free of the whirlpool. Rather than risk the cub getting tangled in the net, Polocz instead used the handle to prod the struggling animal out of the eddy and close enough to shore to make it to safety.

Once ashore, the cub gave out a yell and the mother bear instantly appeared to take charge of the situation.

Polocz and his two fishing buddies watched the pair lumber off.

"There were three pretty tough guys in the boat, and there wasn't a dry eye among us," he said.

Quake debris, a toy, hits Southern Calif.

HUNTINGTON BEACH, Calif., Aug. 3 (UPI) -- Debris from last year's earthquake in Japan has been washing up in the American Northwest and a Japanese toy train was found in Huntington Beach, Calif.

In an area south of Los Angeles known as Dog Beach, the toy, a 4-inch-long model of the Shinkansen bullet train and only sold in Japan, was found by Yuji Keneko and his son Ryan, who lived in Yokohama and survived the March 11, 2011, earthquake 200 miles away, The Orange County (Calif.) Register reported Thursday.

Ryan, a fourth-grader, used to play with the same kind of toy train, the newspaper noted.

"I was so shocked. It was just weird. Then I realized it came through the ocean from Tohoku," the father said, referring to the area of northeastern Japan that was the epicenter of the earthquake and subsequent tsunami.

The family left for the United States five days after the quake.

In recent months a variety of articles from Japan, including refrigerators, trucks and a piece of a dock, have washed up in Washington and Oregon.

Rare monkey born in France

MULHOUSE, France, Aug. 3 (UPI) -- A French zoo announced a rare Roloway monkey was born at the facility, bringing the total population in captivity to 27.

The Mulhouse Zoological and Botanical Park said the monkey was born about two weeks ago and has been named Owabi in honor of a wildlife sanctuary in Ghana, Radio France Internationale reported Thursday.

"The Cercopithecus Roloway is a very endangered species," Mulhouse Zoo veterinarian Benoit Quintard said. "Births of this species are very rare in zoos."

Officials said fewer than 200 Roloway monkeys are believed to currently be living in the wild, making them one of the world's 25 most endangered species of primate.

Teacher made up car death to skip work

SHOTTS, Scotland, Aug. 3 (UPI) -- A Scottish disciplinary panel heard how a high school music teacher made up a story about running over a small girl in his car to get out of work.

Joyce Kilmartin, head teacher at Calderhead High School in Shotts, said Derek McGlone, 42, fabricated stories on a "number of occasions" to take time off from work, The Daily Telegraph reported Thursday.

"He started off telling a few silly lies. He then lied about knocking a girl over and killing her -- he said he felt his car wheels running over her body," Kilmartin told the General Teaching Council Scotland hearing.

McGlone said he was "embarrassed and sorry" for his actions.

"I can give no reasonable explanation for my actions," he said.

The panel handed down a 12-month reprimand against McGlone's name on the teaching register.

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