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Odds & Ends 11/17

Beauty queen gives up her title to don army attire 
MINNEAPOLIS — Jessica Gaulke is trading in her sash as a Minnesota beauty queen for Army fatigues — and Iraq.
    Gaulke, who was chosen Minneapolis Aquatennial Queen of the Lakes in July, is giving up her title because her National Guard unit has been activated for duty. The 22-year-old Augsburg College sociology student will be going to the Mideast as a diesel generator mechanic.
    ‘‘It really wasn’t a decision that was mine to be made,’’ said Gaulke. ‘‘My unit’s going. I’ve accepted it. It’s part of the whole scope of why I joined; I’ll be there for all of us over here.’’
    Gaulke said being Queen of the Lakes, Minnesota’s best-known festival royalty, is ‘‘a huge honor,’’ but she said she is simply honoring the agreement she made when she committed to the Guard before her senior year in high school.
    Her last day as queen will be Jan. 2, when she’ll represent the Aquatennial in the Rose Bowl parade. Aquatennial officials will announce the new queen in January. She’ll serve until July and, like Gaulke, will receive a $4,000 college scholarship.
    ‘‘We’re distressed to lose a good queen, but we’ll have a worthy successor. And we’re proud of her for making this choice and what she’ll do for the country,’’ Aquatennial President Jim Erickson said.

Man attempts to smuggle crocodiles   

    MANILA, Philippines — A Filipino man who flew home from Cambodia said he was carrying live fish in his carryon luggage, until a check at Manila airport revealed three 1.5-foot-long crocodiles, officials said.
    The head of the Manila International Airport Authority said Wednesday it wasn’t clear how Enrique Yu Castillo, 50, was able to carry the Siamese crocodiles from Phnom Penh to Singapore to Manila on Monday night.
    The crocodiles are on an endangered species list and their importation is prohibited, airport manager Alfonso Cusi said in a statement.
    He said charges were being readied against Castillo, while the reptiles were turned over to the Department of Environment and Natural Resources.
    Castillo had earlier sought a permit to import the exotic animals but his application was denied, said Teddy Aguir, from the environment department’s Wildlife Traffic Monitoring unit at the airport.

Over-protective mother crosses the line
 
    CHARLOTTE, N.C. — A student’s call for help to his mom may have gotten him more parental involvement than he bargained for.
    Police said Inez Horne, 45, was arrested Wednesday after she, two daughters and a family friend stormed a classroom to defend her 15-year-old son, who had called home to say he was afraid another student was planning to attack him.
    ‘‘The mom decided to show up at school and take matters into her own hands,’’ said Police Officer Robert Fey.
    Police Sgt. Randy Haigler said the incident unfolded Wednesday morning after Horne’s son called to tell her he was being threatened.
    ‘‘They arrived on campus, they didn’t check into the office, they went directly to the classroom and started to assault a 16-year-old student,’’ Haigler said.
    Horne was charged with misdemeanor trespassing. Daughters Keisha Horne, 19, and Marquitta McNair, 18, were charged with misdemeanor trespassing, simple assault and carrying concealed weapons — Horne a knife, McNair a box cutter — according to arrest records. A boyfriend to one of the daughters was also charged with misdemeanor trespassing.
    ‘‘From our perspective, it just makes a tough job even tougher when parents aren’t part of the solution,’’ school spokeswoman Nora Carr said.

Real estate woman is attacked at location - by a horse  

    BEDFORD, Ind. — Real estate can be a tough business. But sometimes it’s a real beast, Erika McKinney has learned.
    McKinney won a trip to the hospital when a horse bit her and knocked her into a tree during a property showing Friday.
    McKinney and her client were standing by a fence at the property in rural Bedford, about 65 miles south of Indianapolis, when the horse leaned over and bit McKinney’s hand, then head-butted her into a tree.
    McKinney, who suffered bruises to her hand and chest, was treated and released from a local hospital.
    ‘‘We were just kind of standing there and the horse just kind of pulled its head back and reared her in the chest,’’ said Diana Ritter, McKinney’s client. ‘‘We were both worried that it would come over that fence. I love horses, but that one, I don’t know about. It had some sort of problem.’’
    The county animal control officer is investigating the attack.
    McKinney, who owns three horses and a pony, wasn’t deterred by either attack.
    ‘‘She kept going after all of it,’’ Ritter said.

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