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News of the Weird

Wednesday June 12, 2002

Owner fined for  

registering dog to vote 


LAFAYETTE – A man who successfully signed up his poodle to vote as a Republican pleaded no contest to a misdemeanor fraud charge and paid a $250 fine. 

Donald Miller, 78, registered his poodle Barnabas three years ago to protest the voter registration process. 

“It could have been a lot worse,” Miller said Monday after his court appearance in Contra Costa County. “I didn’t want jail time.” 

Miller estimates thousands of ineligible California residents are registered voters. To test his theory, he filled out a voter registration card for Barnabas and waited to see what would happen. 

Contra Costa County soon confirmed the poodle was a registered Republican. But prosecutors were not amused. 

“He violated the law, and he openly admitted it,” said Jim Sepulveda, senior deputy district attorney for the county. 

Miller said he never cast a vote in the dog’s name, though the dog did get a jury summons in March. 

Miller returned the summons with a written explanation of Barnabas’ reticence to participate in the civic process: “I have a short attention span, I have to go to the bathroom quite often and besides, I’m a dog.” 


Super Papa still ticking  


TACOMA – Just four days shy of his 100th birthday, Cecil Hill completed the 5-kilometer Sound to Narrows course in the middle of the pack. 

His fitness is testimony to the effectiveness of the regimen he adopted after quadruple bypass surgery forced him to retire 10 years ago. 

“I did just fine,” Hill said with satisfaction after Saturday’s race. “I stopped only once and that was just to blow my nose.” 

“Congratulations, Super Papa,” yelled some of the two dozen relatives who walked with him over the hilly course near Point Defiance Park. 

Hill walks 5 kilometers — more than 3 miles — every day near his assisted-living home or in its halls. His son, Doyle, says he’s a natural athlete who never smoked, and ate and drank moderately. 

“He says he’s going to live to be at least 105, and I suspect the way he’s going, he’ll make it,” Doyle Hill said. 

The former farmer, salt miner and parking-lot manager was one of those tapped to carry the 1996 Olympic torch when it passed through the Puget Sound area. And the longtime Mariners fan threw out the first pitch in a game several years ago. 

Girl Scout troops break through military barrier  


MINNEAPOLIS – Raising nearly $32,000 worth of cookies for U.S. soldiers in South Korea was easy for a group of Girl Scouts. Much harder was getting the treats to the troops. 

The cookies were stuck in Minneapolis for more than a month because of military schedules, security rules and the volume of cookies. 

The Girl Scouts contacted state Sen. Mark Dayton to see if he could help them get the cookies shipped and distributed to about 28,000 troops. 

After some wrangling — Dayton’s office contacted the Defense Department, the Marines, the Air Force and the Minnesota Air National Guard — Northwest Airlines agreed to carry the shipment. 

Northwest spokeswoman Mary Beth Schubert said the airline was honored to “bring a little bit of home to our service members in Korea.” 

Dayton joined 12 Scouts at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport for Monday’s send-off. 

“The Girl Scouts not only had to raise thousands of dollars for the cookies, but then had to spend weeks working to cut through... barriers,” he said. “I applaud their efforts.”