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Sept. 14, 2012 at 5:00 PM
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Old parrot says final 'Cheerio'

EXETER, England, Sept. 14 (UPI) -- The British owner of a 55-year-old parrot said her pet died after uttering an appropriate final word, "Cheerio."

Nina Morgan, 89, of Exeter, England, said her African Grey parrot, Tarbu, uttered his final word as a goodnight message and she knew something was wrong the following morning when he was too weak to spout his usual greeting of "Hello, my darling," The Sun reported Friday.

"He was a very intelligent bird and very clever. We never taught him to talk, he picked everything up," Morgan said. "The night before he died I went up to bed and he said, 'Cheerio' to me from his cage. It was the last thing that he said. He sounded very weak and I did think, 'oh dear, he is not well' and had this feeling about it.

"The next morning he was on the top perch of his cage with both of his wings hanging down. I talked to him as usual and he gave me one or two little squeaks," she said. "I went to make a cup of tea and when I came back he was dead at the bottom of the cage. I cried for two days and I just miss him so much."

Bear swims in Los Angeles pools

LOS ANGELES, Sept. 14 (UPI) -- Authorities in Los Angeles said a young black bear wandered into a residential neighborhood and took swims in backyard pools.

Los Angeles Police Department Officer Tenesha Dobine said the bear was first reported around 6:45 p.m. Thursday in the Granada Hills neighborhood and was seen climbing trees and swimming in backyard pools before wandering away from the area, the Los Angeles Times reported Friday.

Dobine said helicopters were dispatched to the area Thursday night and the situation is being monitored by animal control officers and the state Department of Fish and Game.

Town replacing lawn patch with fake grass

BOURTON-ON-THE-WATER, England, Sept. 14 (UPI) -- Officials in a British town said a patch of grass in a picturesque piece of council-owned land will be replaced with artificial turf.

The parish councilors in Bourton-on-the-Water, England, said they will install false grass on the 36-square-yard piece of land in an attempt to save on costs from having to patch the grass each year after it is destroyed by tourists, The Daily Telegraph reported Friday.

Councilor Richard Johnes said it costs about $1,600 to repair the lawn each fall.

"If this is successful, we are not intending to returf the whole green with artificial turf," he said. "We're just throwing about 1,000 pounds ($1,621) on some of these patches. This is a material that's used quite widely. You'll find it at Wimbledon. It's accepted as an alternative to grass that wears out quickly."

However, environmental activists said the fake grass isn't an acceptable alternative for insects.

"A village green full of wildflowers can be a fantastic place for beetles and bees to thrive and it would a real shame if this lovely village in the heart of one of the most important and environmentally sensitive areas in England put down a fake green," said Matthew Shardlow, chief executive of Buglife, a group devoted to the conservation of invertebrates.

Older bikers opt for third wheel

MOUNT AIRY, N.C., Sept. 14 (UPI) -- Three-wheeled motorcycle riders at the National East Coast Trike-In in North Carolina said the extra wheel can be beneficial to aging bikers.

Grady Howard, 74, who said he began riding motorcycles about 50 years ago with his wife, Barbara, said during the Labor Day weekend event in Mount Airy he was forced to switch to the three-wheeled design due to leg aches and other health issues, The New York Times reported Friday.

"I told my wife it was either trike it or park it," Howard said. "And she said, 'Trike it.'"

Industry experts told the Times sales of three-wheeled bikes have bolstered the slowing motorcycle industry and opened the roads back up to tens of thousands of riders who thought their motorcycling days were behind them.

"I get ribbed once in a while, people saying I'm an old man," said David Jenkins, 56, who switched to a trike last month. "I always tell them, when they grow up they should get a real motorcycle, a three-wheeler."

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