Dead Rabbit Points Way to Prize

--Deborah Benedict’s clues included a dead rabbit, a Volkswagen and a flying kite. After a week of hunting in Key West, Fla., she ferreted out the prize--a seven-ounce gold bar from a sunken Spanish galleon and an emerald worth $10,000. “It feels fabulous. It was a thrill to win,” said Benedict, a fashion designer from Key West. “The contest had become something of an obsession for me.” The contest was staged by local merchants and Mel Fisher, the ocean salvor who found millions of dollars’ worth of gold and silver from the Spanish galleon Nuestra Senora de Atocha last July after a 16-year hunt. He donated the gold bar, the bullion value of which is about $3,000 but which Fisher valued at $50,000 for its historic significance, and a local jeweler donated the emerald. During the treasure hunt, 152 participants scrambled through city streets, alleys and beachfronts, using a “captain’s log” to interpret clues. Benedict said she plans to sell her gold bar and give some of the proceeds to charity. “It would be really nice to help Mark House,” she said, referring to a home for the elderly and retarded in the city. “I also have a little business that I could start up. And my landlady was thrilled.” After all, she added: “It’s quite impractical to have a gold bar sitting around your house.”

--District Court Referee Gary Lawyer asks that those who come to his court for a divorce play dress-up. “I do not allow cutoffs; Bermuda shorts; rock concert sweat shirts; frayed, dirty jeans; undershirts or see-through body shirts--all of which I have seen in my courtroom,” the Colorado Springs, Colo., jurist wrote to a local newspaper. “Dress for court as you would dress for church or a nice restaurant. If you are not appropriately dressed for court, you will be asked to leave and your case will not be heard.” Lawyer said he has sent half a dozen people home since January.

--Geraldine A. Ferraro says her campaign for vice president last year was “almost unbearable,” because she was subjected to scrutiny, bigotry and sexism. But the hardships were offset by the opportunities her candidacy opened for women, the former New York congresswoman wrote in her new autobiography, “Ferraro: My Story,” to be published in November. “I wasn’t prepared for the depth of the fury, the bigotry and the sexism my candidacy would unleash,” she said, calling anti-abortion pickets who dogged her steps “vicious.” But Ferraro, on the Democratic ticket with former Vice President Walter F. Mondale, said she was not distraught over losing the election. “Short of a major disaster that he couldn’t grin away or shrug off helplessly, (President) Reagan was virtually unbeatable,” she said.