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Teacher's Pets Should Feel at Home in This Classroom

October 02, 1985|JENNINGS PARROTT

--Teacher Gary Schaffer is accustomed to dealing with a classroom that is something of a zoo. Two pythons named Monty and J. R., an iguana named Iggy and a tarantula named Elvira are Schaffer's typical instructional aids at McCormick Junior High School in Cheyenne, Wyo. All the reptiles, including a couple of young crocodiles that are temporarily living at Schaffer's house, will be moving Friday into their new home, a herpetarium in one corner of the classroom. It all started about five years ago, when one of Schaffer's students wanted to see a rattlesnake. "So I scavenged up a rattlesnake and brought it to class. The next day, all the classes in school came to see it," he said. People began giving him snakes they found. Monty and J.R. were presents from people who could no longer house their pythons. Schaffer didn't have enough space for all the snakes in his house, and the upkeep was mounting, so he did what any educator does these days. He wrote a grant proposal and received $6,000 in federal money for the herpetarium. The grant money also allowed him to purchase more snakes, giant marine toads and the two crocodiles.

--Astronomy instructor George Eberts of Ohio University takes a dim view of Athens' street lights. He wants the city's street illumination either turned down or off this fall so residents can have a better view of Halley's Comet. City fathers say they are in the dark about light pollution, but would be willing to consider Eberts' proposal to turn out the lights on certain dates.

--Greek shipping heiress Christina Onassis has filed for divorce in Switzerland from her fourth husband, French businessman Thierry Roussel, sources close to the Onassis family said in Athens. Onassis, 34, married Roussel, 33, in France in March, 1984. The couple have an 8-month-old daughter, Athena, who is Onassis' first child.

--Students know that "The Bomb" is a fake hand grenade handed out for the worst question asked in a Harvard Business School class. Police are easily upset by students, but David Moyer didn't have that in mind when, having won the weekly award, he tossed the phony grenade in his mailbox at the Cambridge, Mass., school because it seemed like a safe place to store it, said school official Pam Kruh. Then a mail worker discovered The Bomb when she opened the boxes to make the day's delivery. She called officials, who called the police, who called the bomb squad, which took it away with great fanfare. Moyer was not immediately available for comment or to reveal what question earned him the award. The police bomb squad said it wanted to ask Moyer and others some questions before deciding whether to return "The Bomb," Kruh said.

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