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Bright and Brief

March 13, 1990

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) _ They hit the ceiling at the Internal Revenue Service when somebody smelled a rat. But the stink turned out to be a big, dead snake in the overhead and figuring how it got there is taxing the IRS.

Maintenance workers found the decaying body of a 4-foot-long snake in the ceiling Monday, after IRS workers on the sixth floor of the federal building called for help.

James Carmody, IRS district director, said the workers first thought the smell was natural gas, then a dead rat. IRS agent Donna Lodholz, who climbed a ladder to investigate, found the snake’s body and help was summoned.

The multicolored snake appeared to be a boa constrictor, and Carmody said a sinister motive for its presence had been ruled out.

The snake apparently was disposed of by the maintenance crew before it could be positively identified.

John Groves, curator of reptiles for the Philadelphia Zoo, said the snake could have been a species found in Pennsylvania that got inside to hibernate for the winter. ″They don’t make much noise,″ he said.

Groves said it is possible for a snake to survive in the building if it could find food and water.

″I’ve never noticed any rats or mice around the building, so maybe that’s the reason,″ Carmody said.

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MERIDIAN, Miss. (AP) - When Hartley Peavey throws a birthday party, he expects a little feedback.

Peavey expects more than 1,000 guests from all 50 states and several foreign countries to attend the 25th anniversary party for his Meridian-based company, Peavy Electronics, famed for its rock ‘n’ roll amplifiers.

Company spokesman Jerry Hess said Peavey already has booked half of Meridian’s 1,400 hotel rooms for the June 12-14 event, and may need more. The Lauderdale County Tourism Commission estimates the party will put $420,000 into the local encomomy.

Most guests will be dealers and distributors of Peavy products, which the privately owned company exports to 102 countries. Peavey also has a plant in Britain and distribution centers in Canada and the Netherlands.

For a grand finale, Peavey will throw an outdoor concert featuring two single performers and two groups. Some famous people?

″We can’t announce who they are,″ Hess said.

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MELBOURNE, Fla. (AP) - Hundreds of thousands of spring breakers are descending on Florida for beer and bikinis, but 17 American University students are spending the week helping to build houses for the needy.

The eight men and nine women who arrived Sunday from Washington, D.C., are putting in eight-hour work days, eating at churches and spending the night in sleeping bags on the floor of the Holy Trinity Episcopal Church.

″This group really wants to work,″ said Joy Willard-Williford, project director for the South Brevard Habitat for Humanity. ″They came with their hammers and tools and their nail aprons on. They were all decked out.″

The university’s Habitat chapter has more than 200 members and about 50 are spending spring break building homes in various communities, said Kate Hochberg, 20, a group leader.

The students plan on taking a day off Thursday. Half will head for the beach and the others to Disney World.

Ms. Willard-Williford said she initially suspected the students’ motives when they they asked how far they would be from Daytona Beach, the spring break’s hot spot for beery blowouts.

As it turned out, she said, they wanted to attend an Amnesty International rally.