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March 13, 2013

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Signed, sealed, delivered

PORTLAND, Maine - A young seal somehow wandered up a steep embankment and crossed four lanes of traffic to make an unexpected appearance at the entrance of Mercy Hospital in Portland, Maine. 

Mike Therrian, who was shoveling snow, says he saw the seal under an awning and thought it might be someone bundled under a blanket Friday morning. Instead, he says it was a 30-inch-long gray seal. 

Hospital security was alerted, and a marine mammal expert was dispatched. 

But Therrian and a co-worker from Seabreeze Property Service had encouraged the seal to move on before the arrival of Lynda Doughty from Marine Animals of Maine. Therrian says that with some coaxing the seal slid down the hill and crawled back into the Fore River, which empties into Portland Harbor. 

TME Here's hoping they scored its return journey with 'Kiss from a Rose.'

TGIF

PORT ORANGE, Fla. - Employees at a Florida health care company are allowed to drink on the company's tab, on company time, thanks to a perk known as 'Beer Cart Fridays.' 

Advance Medical CEO Jennifer Fuicelli told the Daytona Beach News-Journal she's been rolling out the beer cart for two years as part of an 'unorthodox corporate culture' that rewards employees for hard work. 

She says the company began in 2005 with four employees and now has 350 workers in two locations - Port Orange, Fla., and Broomfield, Colo. 

The company also hosts costume days for Halloween, barbecues on the clock and a birthday 'get out of jail free' card, which can be used for a paid day off. 

Employees are restricted to one beer, which Fuicelli says is a small price that 'pays huge dividends.' 

TME The 'Bath Salts Bonanzas' and 'Meth Mondays' have proven less popular.

This week in local government

RIVERHEAD, N.Y. - Cheers? Yes. Jeers? Not so much. 

Officials in the New York town of Riverhead, in eastern Long Island, have adopted a code of public behavior for town hall meetings that bans booing. 

Newsday reports the Riverhead Town Board voted 4-1 to approve the proposal earlier this week. Councilman James Wooten was the lone dissenter. 

The town council deleted a measure that also would have banned applause. 

There are no penalties for violators. 

Supervisor Sean Walter says the town copied guidelines in other towns. He says the rules are designed to let meetings run more smoothly. 

TME If you're being booed, maybe it's time to reexamine your style of governance.

Silver Linings Playbrick

PITTSBURGH - It's like throwing money out the window, only backward. 

The brick a vandal tossed through a Pittsburgh printing shop's window Monday night fetched its new owner more than $1,000 in an impromptu auction Tuesday. 

Business owner Dan Rugh says what was initially a frustrated joke turned into a big moneymaker, with people and businesses alike pitching in prizes. One woman offered tickets to a Pittsburgh Penguins hockey game, a brewery offered a free tour, and restaurants donated gift certificates. 

The final $1150 bid for the brick came in at 11:59 p.m. Donations totaled about $1000 more. 

The window cost only $425 to fix so Rugh and his partner say they'll donate the rest to charity. 

TME With that kind of payoff, we'd take bricks through our windows daily.

No laughing matter

ROCKVILLE CENTRE, N.Y. - A New York man says he didn't know it was a crime to laugh. 

Robert Schiavelli of Rockville Centre, on Long Island, was slapped with two summonses for 'disturbing the peace.' 

Police responded to his home on Feb. 12 and Feb. 13 after receiving complaints from his next-door neighbor that his loud laughs could be heard across the driveway. 

The 42-year-old was charged with acting 'in such a manner as to annoy, disturb, interfere with, obstruct, or be offensive to others.' 

At his arraignment Tuesday, a judge declined to dismiss the charges. 

Schiavelli tells the New York Post his neighbor often taunts him due to his disability. He deals with it by laughing him off. 

Schiavelli suffers from seizures and neurological impairments. 

The neighbor didn't respond to requests for comment. 

TME Mocking a disability *and* calling the cops for laughter? This guy's neighbor might be the Grinch.

Canine calisthenics 

CHICAGO - Can't get rid of that paunch? 

A Chicago-area gym suggests working out with your pooch. 

K9 Fit Club offers bow wow boot camps and other classes for people and their puppies to exercise together in Chicago and nearby Hinsdale, Ill. 

The fitness center opened last year after founder Tricia Montgomery exercised with her dog and lost 130 pounds. Montgomery says her late basset hound, named Louie, lost 22 percent of his body weight. 

Fans of the gym say classes are beneficial to both man and man's best friend. 

Montgomery says dogs struggle with the same weight issues that people face, including heart problems and diabetes. 

People who work out at K9 Fit Club say exercising with their dogs keeps them motivated. 

Classes cost about $20.

TME Nothing like getting a spot from Spot.

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