Originally created 06/11/04

Odds and Ends



SALT LAKE CITY -- EurEEEKa! Just what the world needs: another mouse.

A tiny creature with a long tail, two sets of whiskers and powerful jaws may be the newest species of mouse, found on a Philippine island by researchers that included a Utah man.

Eric Rickart, the Utah Museum of Natural History's curator of vertebrates, said the rodent with a 4-inch tail and strong, sharp toes is unlike any other mouse found on any Philippine island.

"We were lucky to catch it," he said.

After a month of study ending in late May, the researchers caught the mouse in a lowland forest on south-central Luzon Island, about 50 miles from Manila.

Rickart said the mouse may have wandered down from a higher spot in the forest canopy. Depending on the light, it can appear to be bright orange, said Rickart, who has been studying mammals in the Philippines for 15 years.

Besides whiskers on its snout, it has other long whiskers that grow from behind each eye.

"We've never seen anything like it," Rickart said.

Researchers hope to catch more of the rodents.

The yet-to-be-named mouse, which may also be a new genus, lived in the remnants of a tropical forest.

The tiny mice may have floated to their new homes on fallen logs and thrived on the island, Rickart said.

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RACINE, Wis. -- Joe Clazmer lost 100 pounds, and gained nearly $11,000 for local schools.

Clazmer, who now weighs in at 371 pounds, turned his weight loss into a fund-raiser in January, raising $106.83 for each pound lost.

By dropping 100 pounds, he raised $10,683 for the Racine Educational Alternative Learning School or REAL, where he teaches math, and St. Catherine's High School, his alma mater.

"The number's one thing, but I'll tell you, I just feel better," Clazmer said.

Willie Maryland, one of REAL's co-directors, said the schools will split the money.

"It was just a win-win situation for everybody," Maryland said. "I think it was an awesome thing."

He said the charter school would likely use the money in the next school year to help kids who can't afford field trips, and for clubs, student government, the yearbook, the school newspaper and a possible scholarship.

Clazmer's Monday weigh-in marked the end of the fund-raiser but he wants to keep losing.

"If I had to pick a goal, and people have been asking me that lately, another 100 pounds and I'm sure I would be very comfortable at that."

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BREMEN, Germany -- Not since those gruesome movies in driver's ed class has there been this much blood on the highway.

A truck hauling pig blood on the autobahn from the Netherlands for disposal was pulling onto the autobahn near Sittensen from a rest stop when it was rear-ended by another truck Wednesday, police spokesman Klaus-Dieter Kroll said.

Police closed a stretch of superhighway for hours after the truck spilled 9,000 gallons of pig's blood. The entire load of blood mixed with heavy rain and formed a large slick, causing another truck to crash, Kroll said.

The highway shutdown created traffic jams 13 miles long on either side.

The driver of the truck that crashed into the truck hauling the blood suffered minor injuries. Damage was estimated at $221,000, Kroll said.

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DULUTH, Minn. -- Civil War veteran Albert Woolson has regained some dignity.

Years of pigeon and gull droppings were scrubbed off the head and body of his statue Wednesday, and he got a new home.

Woolson was recognized as the last surviving member of the Union Army. He died in Duluth on Aug. 6, 1956, at 109.

A bronze statue of Woolson had been on display in Canal Park on the Lake Superior waterfront since 1983.

On Wednesday morning, crews loaded the larger-than-life likeness onto a truck and hauled it to the Depot, also known as St. Louis County Heritage and Arts Center, the train station that houses the county historical society and other groups.

Woolson now faces a large American flag that flaps with lake breezes outside the Duluth Public Library on the other side of the street.

"The nice thing about having him here instead of Canal Park is no pigeons," said Ken Buehler, executive director of the Depot. "This move was long overdue. I think he's going to look just great in his new home."