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On the Light Side

November 27, 1985

STUART, Fla. (AP) _ You say you’re looking for that Christmas gift for the dog that has everything?

H.C. Hoffner has the solution: fire hydrants.

That’s right, Hoffner, a supervisory at Stuart’s sanitation garage, buys fire plugs from the city and sells them for $25 each to pet owners.

He started two years ago, buying 25 used hydrants at public auction. ″I could have sold 100 if I had them,″ he said recently.

Business has been so good that he plans to buy more hydrants next month when the city auctions off another 10 fire plugs.

Hoffner said his dog, M.D., is one of his satisfied customers. He said the one-year-old Welsh corgi, who rounds up goats on Hoffner’s Palm City farm, takes his breaks alongside his master’s two hydrants.

Danny Roberts, who doesn’t have a dog, uses his repainted fire plug as a yard decoration, but he admits, ″Some of the neighborhood dogs who come around use it.″

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OMAHA, Neb. (AP) - It was a toga party - but not all that wild - as Latin students from six high schools got together in an elegant dining hall.

Although the menu was strictly 20th century - fried chicken - the 90 students and teachers at the Junior Classical League’s annual Roman banquet on Tuesday enjoyed a Latin rendition of ″Happy Birthday,″ and a production of ″Pyramus and Thisbe,″ the Roman poet Ovid’s tragic tale of two lovers who against their parents wishes talked nightly through a crack in a wall.

Toga-draped spectators also threw coins and cheered sophomore Maurice Epperson, who clanged finger cymbals as he did an exotic dance to a tom-tom beat banged out by two percussionists.

The annual event is staged to give students a taste of old Rome.

″I think it’s a real help in keeping the kids’ interest alive,″ said North High School Latin teacher Virginia Nedley.

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SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (AP) - James Knowles thought it was too good to be true when he found no competition in the woods for deer on the opening day of shotgun season.

It was.

Knowles, 55, of Gloucester, was among hunters who unknowingly jumped the gun on the shotgun season after they got copies of Massachusetts hunting laws that listed the wrong dates, wildlife officials said Tuesday.

Knowles learned of the mistake too late Monday, after he already had bagged an 80-pound buck, but he called a game warden to report his error.

His copy of the state’s hunting laws said the opening day was Monday, but the correct date is next Monday.

Knowles, who knew the season always had started the Monday after Thanksgiving, said, ″I had the laws with me in my pocket, and I kept checking them ... It just seemed strange there wouldn’t be any hunters on the first day in the woods.″

The state Department of Fisheries, Wildlife and Recreational Vehicles passed out about 40,000 pamphlets with the incorrect information inside, but with corrections printed on the cover, said Allan L. McGroary, director of the state’s game wardens. Some hunters failed to notice the corrections.

The error resulted from a calendar used by state Department of Fisheries, Wildlife and Recreational Vehicles office workers. It listed Thanksgiving a week earlier than it is, said spokeswoman Ellie C. Horwitz.

Knowles wasn’t held accountable for his mistake. ″If they were going to hang me, they would have to hang the guy in the print shop,″ he said.

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