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Bright and Brief

January 24, 1988

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. (AP) _ Using earthmovers, dump trucks, conveyer belts and 532 tons of snow, organizers of the 1988 Great Sierra Winter Carnival have built what they believe is the world’s tallest snowman.

The 50-foot, 10 1/2 -inch frosty giant, styled after the giant marshmallow man from the movie ″Ghostbusters,″ took about two weeks to construct. It was finished just in time for Saturday’s dedication ceremonies to kick off the week-long festival.

Carnival organizers said they plan to submit proof of its height to the Guinness Book of World Records since it apparently exceeds the current record of 47 1/2 feet.

The five-story-tall snowman towers over the Sierra Ski Ranch, site of the carnival 12 miles west of South Lake Tahoe. It was made in four sections instead of the usual three, and features a cone-shaped hat, orange cardboard nose, and a black cardboard mouth and eyes.

Carnival spokesman Phil Weidinger said crews had been working 24-hour shifts, using dump trucks, earthmovers, loaders, hoists, bucket trucks and conveyor belts to build the snowman.

The snowman measures 46 feet in diameter at its base and is more than 1,300 cubic yards in total volume.

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MONROE, Mich. (AP) - Gen. George Armstrong Custer and the reigning Miss America will get equal billing after all in their hometown.

Officials in Monroe, home of the general and beauty queen Kaye Lani Rae Rafko, had wanted to honor both figures in city signs, but discovered a state Department of Transportation rule allowing just one special designation sign per city.

However, state Rep. Jerry C. Bartnik persuaded state authorities to waive the rule while Miss Rafko is Miss America.

Effective Monday, the general and the pageant queen will share billing in this city south of Detroit.

So what happens when Miss Rafko surrenders her crown to Miss America 1989?

″We have to take one problem at a time,″ said Bartnik.

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TACOMA, Wash. (AP) - Rosie the walrus has gotten over whatever was eating her and now eats whatever she can, say zoo keepers who credit a trainer who practiced a little child psychology on Rosie for her change of heart.

Last winter, Rosie, a walrus found orphaned and starving in Prudhoe Bay, Alaska, in 1982, was down to a skimpy 700 pounds, and keepers at Point Defiance Zoo and Aquarium were worried about her health, said zoo spokeswoman Lilly Moore.

In spring 1986, Rosie’s keepers noticed she wasn’t keeping food down. Tests ruled out an ulcer or an object in her throat, so Rosie was sent to a specialist at Sea World of California in San Diego. She returned to Tacoma last February with a healthy layer of fat but soon resumed her dangerous diet.

A trainer who had worked with retarded children then pointed out that some of them also refused to keep down their food.

Delving further into the subject, the trainer found that severely retarded children who otherwise could not communicate would regurgitate when they were trying to signal that they were still hungry. The cure was to feed them until they were stuffed.

The keepers tried it on Rosie, Ms. Moore said, and the regurgitation stopped. In one feeding, the walrus downed 120 pounds of fish, three times the average meal for a walrus.

″She was more willing to eat than anyone thought a walrus in captivity could be,″ said Ms. Moore, who noted that Rosie tipped the scales at 1,030 pounds last week.

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