REPORTERS' NOTEBOOOK: Four-legged smoke alarm

Kimie the Pomeranian came to her owners' rescue last weekend by alerting them to a developing kitchen fire. Russ Mame
Sandusky Register Staff
May 24, 2010


Kimie the Pomeranian came to her owners' rescue last weekend by alerting them to a developing kitchen fire.

Russ Mamere, who admits to being "not a very good cook," left a pan over high heat on the stove and got distracted working in the basement.

After several minutes, he heard Kimie barking.

"She never barks in the house," he said. "She sat by the top of the stairs just barking and barking and barking for me to come up."

Mamere hurried upstairs and was able to extinguish the burning food before it got out of hand.

Kimie may have been acting out of her own self-interest.

"The dog notoriously cannot handle a smoke alarm," Mamere said. "She goes into a major anxiety attack."

After enough experiences with smoke and the infernal ringing of the alarm, it seems Kimie has learned to connect the two. Her nose is more sensitive than the smoke alarm, Mamere said, so she wanted to make sure it wouldn't go off.

As a reward for learning that new trick, Kimie got a hamburger from her favorite restaurant, Wendy's.

-- Susan McMillan

Thanks for your thoughts

Capt. Philip Mix wrote to thank all of the people who sent him cards and letters after his address ran in the Register's "Away For the Holidays" listing.

"I received no less than 40 cards/packages while stationed here over the Thanksgiving/Christmas time period," Mix wrote from Baghdad. "It made my day to see all the individuals who took time to send something to me.

"Though I don't have time to write everyone back individually, I appreciate all the support and wish everyone a truly happy New Year."

Diva and proud of it

While interviewing the owner of a new business, I had the opportunity to meet a real "diva."

Most people shy away from the camera, but Sandusky resident Mary Brown, 72, was so excited about having her photo taken that she had her hair and makeup done for the occasion. She also wore a leopard-print ankle brace on her left foot, which she proudly displayed with a smile.

Brown had a stroke three years ago, so she has limited use of her left arm and leg. She uses in-home rehabilitation services three times a week and hopes to walk soon.

But prior to her health problems, she spent 30 years working in housekeeping for Cedar Point and another 20 years working in various hotels for Sortino Management.

"I am a diva," she said, showing off a photograph of herself in her mid-20s. "And I sure was a looker back in the day."

Though she uses a wheelchair now, she has high hopes for getting back on her feet. She might grumble about doing her daily exercises, but I sensed a fiery determination in her. Something told me it wouldn't be long before she's up and walking again -- maybe even on stage.

-- Annie Zelm

Cracking the ConAgra code

Being a reporter requires some unusual skills -- like writing in shorthand while standing -- but I never counted on cryptography being one of them.

Nonetheless, I found that a little code-cracking was necessary Wednesday while writing about the feasibility study on Huron's ConAgra site.

City Manager Andy White printed me a copy from a PDF rather than put the 160-page, bound original through a photocopier.

But somewhere between the screen and the page, something went horribly wrong. Most of the document was clean, but parts came out as complete gibberish.

With a lot of time and context analysis, I was able to create a key and figure out that "lDUmHU'V mDUrHWV Dnd wLnHULHV" translated to "farmer's markets and wineries."

Next time I'll insist on copying the original -- even if it means standing at the copier for half an hour.

-- Susan McMillan

Mom doesn't always know best

Erie County prosecutor Kevin Baxter said he offered Keenan Bonner a plea deal that would have meant just three years in prison.

The 18-year-old Bonner was sentenced to 16 years in prison Thursday in Erie County Common Pleas Court without the chance of early judicial release in connection with a 2007 armed robbery/armed burglary.

Bonner took his chances and went to trial and was convicted in November of aggravated robbery and aggravated burglary with gun specifications.

Bonner's mother balked at taking the plea, and Bonner listened to his mother, Baxter said.

Bonner was 17 until just days before the trial, but could have elected to take the deal without his mother's blessing.

"He could have decided. We tried him as an adult. I think it was more that he listened to his Mom," Baxter said.

-- Mike Fitzpatrick