Escape from boredom
GRAB A SHOVEL, BREATHE the air, sleep soundly
Sitting around in Taylor County, Texas, Antonio Garcia had too much boredom on his hands. So Garcia, 27, responded to the call of fresh air, shovels, rakes and weed-eaters, freeing him mind of the everyday monotony. "That's really the number one reason I do this," he said of his outdoor work. County commissioners are pleased, too, since he and 25 other jail inmates who volunteer for work crews save the government quite a bit of money in labor costs, the Abilene Reporter-News reports. The county relies on them to patch potholes, trim trees and clear brush. In return, they work outside, smoke cigarettes, eat a hot lunch on Thursdays — and get a chance at reduced jail time. There's this, too, Garcia said. "You come out here and work your butt off and then go home and go to bed and sleep for eight hours. You sleep a lot better."
EATING AND DRIVING
Pork rinds take a wrong turn
Blame it on a favorite of George H.W. Bush. Edward Sutherland was driving his FedEx rig near Blaine, Wash., when he began choking and veered from the southbound lanes and crossed into the northbound lanes of Interstate 5. State troopers say Sutherland, 42, was eating spicy pork rinds. His truck didn't hit any vehicles, and he was left with minor injuries and a citation after driving into a ditch.
Canine survivor I
No driver's license, just quick wits
Max the chocolate Labrador is not one to panic. Trapped in his owner's car on a 90-degree day in eastern Pennsylvania, he honked the horn until he was rescued. Veterinarian Nancy Soares said Max's owner had gone shopping last month and was unloading packages when she returned but forgot that Max was still in the car, the Associated Press reported Tuesday. The forgetful owner heard the horn honking several times before finally going outside and seeing Max sitting in the driver's seat. The hour in the car caused heat exhaustion, but Max is fine, Soares said.
canine survivor II
Tough dog 1, cruel men 0
As Lucas County, Ohio, dog warden Julie Lyle sees it, Sarge the German shepherd is one tough pup. Sarge survived six gunshots to his head, neck and chest. Witnesses say Sarge's owner and another man took turns shooting him while he howled in his cage. The bullets remain lodged inside Sarge, but he needs just painkillers and antibiotics, Lyle said Tuesday. The owner, who claims Sarge bit him, is charged with cruelty to animals and discharging a firearm. The other man pleaded no contest. Sarge was up and about Tuesday.
Compiled from Times wire services and other sources.