Etc...

Compiled by staff and wire reports

Where have the skunks gone?

If you've seen a skunk – or smelled one – in the last five years, Florida wants to know.

"I haven't seen a dead skunk on the road for a while," said Henry Cabbage, spokesman for the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.

Neither have the agency's biologists. They wonder whether the skunk population is taking a plunge, so they are asking the public for help.

Skunks aren't protected by state law. The black and white animal, about the size of a house cat, is sometimes killed for its shiny fur.

But if the numbers don't look good for the skunk, the state could decide to protect the species.

Wildlife commission biologist Kristen Nelson, who is collecting the information, said last week that she's been taking some kidding for the skunk search.

With their stinky spray, which they can shoot up to 15 feet, skunks have an image problem. She doubts anybody will form a "Save the Skunk" Society.

But Nelson isn't fazed.

"Every creature has some sort of importance in the ecosystem, even if we don't know what that importance is," she said.

King of the world?

David R. Brubaker built up armies, conquered countries and vanquished opponents to become a world champion – at a board game.

Brubaker, of Lititz, took the crown in the 14th Annual International RISK Tournament, held in Reading, Pa., on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

The tournament in the military strategy board game is officially sanctioned by Parker Brothers, the makers of RISK. About 100 players attended from across the country, said tournament director Steve Pasco.

Brubaker, an agricultural writer and consultant, won a $500 prize, a trophy and other smaller prizes.

His strategy, he said, was to build up armies quietly, while other players fought among themselves.

"I'd say the game is 60 percent skill and 40 percent luck," said Brubaker. He has been playing for years and taught his daughter, Adriane Brubaker, who entered with him.

"I was wiped out in the first round," she said.

Yep, that's me

If you're in Lake City, Fla., one of these days and happen to run into a 50-something fellow with a sandy moustache, a receeding hairline, and aviator glasses, you may be in the presence of I Am Who I Am. Really. But that's because Columbia County Court turned down his first request for a new name: God. The former Charles Haffey says he wanted a new identity because of lingering feelings of anxiety over his military service in Vietnam.

Best places to raise a family if you are African-American

Columbus, Ohio, was named the best US city for black families in a list compiled by the news and Web outlets of BET, the African-American-oriented cable-TV network. Cities with the largest black populations were rated on criteria such as median income, home ownership, crime, single-parent households, and high-school graduation rates. The top 10 cities in the BET study:

1. Columbus, Ohio
2. Houston
3. Boston
4. Charlotte, N.C.
5. Indianapolis
6. Los Angeles
7. Washington
8. Oakland, Calif.
9. Philadelphia
10. Nashville, Tenn.
(tie) Jacksonville, Fla.
– PR Newswire

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