Anniversary: It was exactly a year ago that church worker Jennifer J. Casolo grabbed headlines around the world when she was arrested in El Salvador, accused of storing munitions for leftist guerrillas. International protests led to her freedom and expulsion from the country after 14 days sitting blindfolded in a cell. “I (still) live and breathe El Salvador,” she told the Hartford, Conn., Courant on Saturday. “Every day there’s not peace,” Casolo said, “there’s another person dead.” She currently lives in a Washington, D.C., Christian community.
Crop Rotation: Former Los Angeles Zoo trainer Scott Riddle has introduced a new crop to the state of Arkansas, opening an elephant breeding farm and sanctuary on his 330-acre spread outside Little Rock. He’s beginning small--if that’s possible, considering what he’s raising--with a herd of three elephants. Riddle ranks elephants with dolphins and the great apes in intelligence. “They think, they reason, they plan,” he said.
Underwhelmed: Don’t expect Ralph Nader to be celebrating the 20th birthday of the Environmental Protection Agency this month. “By and large,” the consumer advocate said, the EPA “has good equipment, but it hasn’t used it because it’s been straitjacketed. It has a good deal of authority to do things, but it’s been corporatized by a corporate-endentured government.” Barry Commoner, social activist and author of the new book “Making Peace With the Planet,” was equally critical. “If the criterion is the improvement of the environment, they get low marks, because the improvement has been very disappointing,” he said.
Yule Mule: It took the Arden Hills, Minn., sheriff and his posse of church workers 12 hours to run down Jerry the Mule after he walked away from a dress rehearsal for the North Heights Lutheran Church’s annual Christmas pageant. It took that long, according to Deputy Edward Whitledge, because “that mule travels at 40 m.p.h. and he’s very street-wise.”