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News of the Weird

- The Associated Press
Wednesday May 15, 2002

Senior Prank Has Town Buzzing 


DELAND, Fla. — DeLand High School was buzzing with activity earlier this week, but it had nothing to do with excitement about the soon-to-end school year. 

A principal says students released 80,000 bees on campus in an apparent prank on Monday. Students were sent home early after eight beehives were glued down on school grounds and the swarms escaped, said principal Mitch Moyer. No one was stung, he said. 

“We’ve contended with various senior pranks over the years, but this one could have been dangerous,” said Moyer, who is allergic to bee stings. 

The Volusia County Sheriff’s office was investigating the incident. 

If the pranksters are students, they could be barred from the school’s graduation ceremony, officials said. 

“It’s the best prank ever. It canceled school,” said Emary Frederick, 18, who along with 530 seniors finishes high school Thursday. 

The beehives were marked as property of Horace Bell Honey, a 40-year-old DeLand-based wholesale apiary. Beekeeper Luella Bell estimates her business will lose $800 due to the prank. 

She said the stolen hives contained younger bees, which are not as likely to sting as older, more aggressive bees. 



Jury duty goes upscale in Orange County  


SANTA ANA, Calif. — Receiving a jury summons may not be such bad news anymore for people living in Orange County. 

Court officials unveiled a new jury assembly room designed to appease potential jurors. Faux leather couches and ergonomically designed chairs replaced bench and floor seating. 

There are two dozen workspaces equipped with modem connections so prospective jurors can keep themselves busy. A network of seven large-screen televisions and a video projection system also have been installed to make the waiting game less grueling. 

“The best thing is that people can get work done when they’re waiting,” said jury candidate Lillian French, 42, of Santa Ana. 

The upgrades to the state’s largest jury assembly room cost more than $1.5 million. The room can hold as many as 600 people.  



Minnesota grocers  

may wrestle ... again  


MINNEAPOLIS — A grocery store chain, accused of ripping off a competitor’s advertisements, tried to laugh off a lawsuit by repeating a decade-old publicity stunt. 

Rainbow Foods on Monday suggested a wrestling match between one of its executives and a leader of rival Cub Foods, which filed a lawsuit against Rainbow last week. 

Cub, a unit of Eden Prairie-based SuperValu Inc., accused Rainbow, a unit of Fleming Cos., of stealing Cub’s newspaper inserts prior to publication and using them to undercut its prices. 

Rainbow has several weeks to file a legal response to the lawsuit. Executives asked a Minneapolis public relations firm to craft a response in the meantime. They came up with the wrestling idea, complete with a “Rainbow Rumble” logo. 

The match gained enormous publicity for both companies and has been mentioned in several books since. 

Cub rejected Rainbow’s wrestling proposal, saying it “trivializes what we believe are legitimate and serious allegations, which will be appropriately addressed in a court of law, not in the wrestling ring.”