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The Anchorage Daily News reported in May on new efforts to minimize contact between grizzly bears and the thousands of visitors who fish Alaska's Russian River each summer. Officials sometimes deem it necessary to kill specific bears known for menacing humans, but after an encounter witnesses often have trouble describing the bear in much detail. To help, biologists with the state fish and game department planned to single out likely troublemakers and, using bleach and drugstore hair dye, color each bear's head, shoulders, and hindquarters bright green, pink, orange, or blue. Acknowledging that wildlife lovers would likely object to the animals' undignified appearance, the scientists emphasized that they were "not trying to embarrass these bears."

When Nature Calls

Photographer Gerry Edwards was denied unemployment benefits at a March hearing; he'd been fired in December by KGAN TV in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, after another photographer sent his bosses a picture of him urinating behind a cemetery monument while he waited to cover an army funeral. According to the Des Moines Register, Edwards maintained he'd behaved appropriately: "If I went in my pants, that would be really unprofessional." In April, after her arrest on shoplifting charges at a supermarket in Cape Coral, Florida, 61-year-old Helen Gallo reportedly explained to police that irritable bowel syndrome had made it impossible for her to wait in the checkout line. Also in April, a group of homes in the Malaysian state of Sarawak fell into a sinkhole in the middle of the night; the roughly 100 residents escaped in time thanks to shouted warnings from 57-year-old Renjis Empati, who happened to be headed for the communal bathroom when he saw his kitchen collapse.

Law Student Special

ABC News reported in May on a four-year paternity battle in New Madrid County, Missouri, involving Holly Adams, her daughter, and identical twins Raymon and Richard Miller. Adams initially said Raymon was the girl's father, but after he denied it and refused to pay support she testified that unbeknownst to either brother she had been having sex with both of them around the time of conception. DNA tests were performed, but because identical twins are genetically indistinguishable, the results for each brother indicated the same extremely high likelihood of his being the father--meaning that one of them almost certainly is, but there's no way to prove which. With little evidence to go on, a circuit court judge ruled that since Raymon was originally declared the father and his DNA test results exceeded the 98-percent probability threshold set by state law, legally the child remains his.

People With Issues

In an April press release the FBI asked for the public's help in finding the person who since 2004 has sent threatening letters (some containing a powdery substance believed to be insecticide) to TV networks, other media, and college athletic departments complaining about images of women in sports coverage. The letters, postmarked from Seattle, Chicago, and Portland, Oregon, charge that Ohio State cheerleaders receive an inordinate amount of camera time because their uniforms have long sleeves and that TV crews "exploit" cheerleading squads that wear sleeveless outfits by refusing to show them on the air. The author also contends that telecasts of women's tennis and basketball show disrespect for the athletes by cutting away from close-ups of players just as they're about to serve or shoot a free throw, thereby "disrupting the flow." One FBI agent told the Columbus Dispatch that the letter writer appears to be growing angrier; the paper also reported that it had received one of the letters last fall, in which the author suggested that objectionable sports coverage "will cause 88 people to be assaulted and shot at."

Cultural Diversity

Several dozen members of Taiwan's parliament rushed the speaker's podium during a May session, setting off yet another of the extended brawls the legislative body is famous for. The last major fight before this had been in January, when deliberation broke down into four hours of punching, tie pulling, and shoe throwing. An expert on Asian politics told Reuters the practice arose among opposition lawmakers in the 80s and 90s, when single-party dominance left them no procedural way to affect policy. But even after genuine democracy took hold, the brawls continued, as legislators apparently believe such displays impress their constituents.

Apparently Not the Charm

A school district spokesperson in San Antonio, Texas, told reporters in May that Elizabeth Rojas had lost her job as principal of Smith Elementary after she failed a mandatory state educators' test for the 38th time. Meanwhile, in the Indian state of Rajasthan, 73-year-old farmer Shivcharan Jatav failed his high school exams for the 39th time; according to a June AP dispatch, Jatav didn't attend school as a child but started trying to pass the exams in his 30s, hoping it would make him a better candidate for the military.

Least Competent Criminals

In April, according to authorities in Merced County, California, Marcus Schulze and Tasha Silva broke into the house of a sheriff's deputy while he wasn't home, piled about $10,000 worth of his possessions (including his badge and several guns) into his own truck, and drove off. After traveling about 20 miles, they apparently called off the alleged getaway to pull over in a residential neighborhood and have sex in the idling truck. Seeing the loaded truck bed and thinking a robbery was in progress, a newspaper deliveryperson called the police, and by the time officers arrived the truck had run out of gas. Silva was captured, while Schulze escaped on foot.

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): illustration by Shawn Belshwender.

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