PURRFECT MAYOR DIES
TALKEETNA, Alaska (AP) — Stubbs, the honorary feline mayor of the Alaska town of Talkeetna, has died at the age of 20. The animal’s owners announced the cat’s death late Saturday. They issued a statement saying “He was a trooper until the very last day of his life; meowing at us throughout the day to pet him or to come sit on the bed with him and let him snuggle and purr for hours in our lap.” Talkeetna, a town with a population of about 900, elected the yellow cat mayor in a write-in campaign in 1998. There is no human mayor in the town. Stubbs had survived an attack by a dog in 2013 and a false report of his death last year. But by late 2016, he was largely staying at home instead of being out and about at local Nagley’s General Store.
MONEY CAN BUY HAPPINESS
VANCOUVER – Researchers in British Columbia say money can, in fact, buy happiness — at least when people spend it to save themselves. A new Canadian study found that people were much happier when they paid to get out of onerous tasks such as mowing the lawn than when they bought wine, clothes or even board games. Senior author Elizabeth Dunn says researchers believe rushing around and feeling pressed for time can take a toll on a person’s day-to-day happiness, and buying time can help mitigate the stress of daily life. But Dunn, says only two percent of the study’s participants reported they WOULD spend money on things that would give them more time. Dunn says her team’s best guess is that people feel guilty spending money on things they could do themselves.
WHOPPER OF A SHARK
BRIELLE, N.J. (AP) — A fishing crew has reeled in a 926-pound Mako shark, and New Jersey officials say it’s the biggest shark catch in the state’s history. The boat’s crew was fishing about 100 miles off the coast in an area known as Hudson Canyon on Saturday. Kevin Gerrity, captain of the boat, says they didn’t think they could manage to catch the shark. It took over two hours to pull it aboard. The New Jersey Division Fish and Wildlife says the previous record weight for a shark caught was an 880-pound tiger shark caught off Cape May in 1988.
DOCTOR’S DANGEROUS DOGS
HADDONFIELD, N.J. (AP) — A New Jersey doctor whose dog bit off a young girl’s ear in 2009 is facing allegations that his new dogs are terrorizing the neighborhood. The Philadelphia Inquirer reports that two neighbors have had run-ins with Robert Taffet’s dogs in Haddonfield. One neighbor filed a police report after he said one of Taffet’s dogs came charging at him while he was walking his own dog. A second neighbor said three of Taffet’s dogs attacked her and her dog. Taffet says the incidents were not as severe as described. His wife was cited for having three dogs not properly registered. A town commissioner says they are examining whether to work out an agreement with the Taffet family or pass an ordinance against irresponsible dog owners or dangerous dogs.
NEW GIRL SCOUT PROGRAM
OWINGS MILLS, Md. (AP) —The Girl Scouts of the USA, with 1.8 million scouts, is unveiling a major push this week into furthering the interest of girls in science, engineering, technology and math through 23 new badges. Scouts as young as kindergarten will be able to dig deep into robotics, with help in the younger age groups from the girl-focused toy company GoldieBlox. Other offerings among the new badges focus on the outdoors, including meteorology and conservation. Next year, “cybersecurity” badges will be offered. Scouting Vice President Jennifer Allenbach oversaw the new programming effort. She says engaging girls in STEM before second grade goes a long way in nudging them into those fields for schooling and careers.