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Odds and Ends

April 2, 2001

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) _ If you’re searching for a wide open space to bring your picnic basket, there’s no point heading to Mill Ends Park. It’s only 2 feet wide.

At 452 square inches, Mill Ends is the smallest park in the world. It was created to offer a base for a light pole on busy Front Avenue. The pole never came, but the weeds did.

A few years ago, journalist Dick Fagan got tired of gazing down from the old Oregon Journal building to the weedy median. He planted some flowers and Mill Ends Park was born.

It became an official city park in 1976. Today, the park sports pretty pansies and a miniature Cyprus tree, and occasionally, odd contributions like tiny advertising signs and a swimming pool for butterflies.

As far as parks go, Portland residents aren’t complaining, however. The city is also home to the 6,000-acre Forest Park, the largest urban forest in the nation.


SAN FRANCISCO (AP) _ The famous Doggie Diner sign took a nosedive after high winds ripped the 500 pound dachshund’s head off its pole, hurling it into the street.

No one was hurt, but the 7-foot tall, fiberglass dog damaged its nose and mouth in Sunday’s fall. Diner operator Silver Ballesteros thinks his beloved dachshund’s head is salvageable.

Ballesteros said the dog’s head fell from its perch atop the rusty 20-foot pole. It remained in the road for at least four hours as city employees worked to clear it, he said.

The 38-year-old dog head received national attention in 1999 when Ballesteros led a fight to save the diner. The sign and the Carousel restaurant, the diner’s new name, is on land owned by the Sloat Garden Center, which wants to use it for a parking lot.

But last year, the city adopted a plan allowing the Doggie Diner sign to remain at its current location for the next five years.


MOSINEE, Wisc. (AP) _ Taxidermist Brian Wolslegel says he’s making a killing buying, stuffing and selling dead animals to be used as decoys to deceive poachers.

The life-sized decoys are made from real animal hides and some include a robotic motor in the head and tail.

Prices range from $300 for a life-size pheasant mount that doesn’t move to $3,200 for a moose with a robotic head and removable legs and antlers.

Conservation wardens in 45 states and Canada have snapped up his creations and use them as a tool to catch people who shoot out of the car.

Mark Brann, an Eau Claire County conservation warden, said not everyone realizes the decoys are fake even though the animals don’t run off or fall when hit.

In one instance, someone was shooting at a fake deer and Brann said he had to drive up and tell him to stop.


WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. (AP) _ To read, or not to read? That’s the question Lycoming College fraternity members were asking themselves this weekend as they tried to break the world reading record.

``I’ve had three hours of sleep since yesterday, an hour at a time,″ said Tau Kappa Epsilon member Patrick Keane.

Keane and several of his fraternity brothers were not permitted to leave during the event, which was monitored by witnesses and a pair of video cameras. The witness log and video tapes will be sent to the Guinness Book of Records for examination. Keane hoped to have the results by the end of the semester.

The readers, anticipating exhaustion, had three cases of Mountain Dew on hand and a coffee maker.

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