Nonprofit seeks personhood, freedom for 3 elephants at zoo
HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — An animal rights organization has asked a court to legally recognize the personhood rights of three elephants at a Connecticut zoo and order them released.
The Nonhuman Rights Project announced Monday it has filed a lawsuit in Connecticut Superior Court on behalf of elephants named Beulah, Karen and Minnie at Commerford Zoo, a traveling petting zoo based in Goshen.
The nonprofit wants the court to release the elephants to a natural habitat sanctuary. It has filed a petition for a writ of habeas corpus, which for people relates to whether someone is being unlawfully detained and should see a judge.
The organization argued unsuccessfully this year for two adult male chimps to be considered legal people.
▶BILL GATES GIVES $50 MILLION TO COMBAT
ALZHEIMER’S: SEATTLE ( AP) — Bill Gates says he’s giving $50 million to help fight Alzheimer’s disease.
The Microsoft co-founder said Monday that the donation to the Dementia Discovery Fund is personal and not through his charitable foundation.
The London-based private fund is backed by government, charities and pharmaceutical firms and seeks new treatments for the progressive, irreversible neurological disease.
In a statement , Gates says men in his family have suffered from Alzheimer’s. He says he’s hopeful that in time Alzheimer’s could be a chronic condition treatable with medication.
Gates says the first treatments for the disease might not be feasible for a decade or more and would initially be expensive. He says the Gates Foundation might consider how to expand access in poorer countries when treatments are developed.
▶BILLIONAIRE’S LAWSUIT FOR YACHT DECO
RATING TAB GOES TO TRIAL: ROCHESTER, N.Y. (AP) — Billionaire Thomas Golisano says an interior decorator overcharged him by more than $300,000 when she renovated his yacht.
The Democrat and Chronicle reports the former Buffalo Sabres owner and three-time candidate for New York governor testified Monday in a civil trial in Rochester. He maintains the decorator had agreed to provide furnishings at wholesale cost.
His wife, former tennis star Monica Seles, testified she grew concerned about costs during a cruise in 2014 when there were so many pillows she couldn’t sit on a couch.
Golisano contends the decorator overcharged by more than $300,000 on an $845,000 tab. The decorator claims he was given the same deal she gave him on his suburban Rochester home.
▶BARBIE MAKES DOLL OF HIJAB- WEARING
OLYMPIAN IBTIHAJ MUHAMMAD: NEW YORK (AP) — The maker of Barbie says it will sell a doll modeled after Ibtihaj Muhammad, an American fencer who competed in last year’s Olympics while wearing a hijab.
Mattel Inc. says the doll will be available online next fall. The doll is part of the Barbie “Shero” line that honors women who break boundaries. Past dolls have included gymnast Gabby Douglas and “Selma” director Ava DuVernay.
Muhammad said on Twitter that she was “proud” that young people will be able to play with “a Barbie who chooses to wear hijab!”
Muhammad, the first American to compete at the Olympics while wearing a hijab, won a bronze medal in fencing at the 2016 Rio Games.
▶BARBECUE MINISTRY RAISES MORE THAN $90K
FOR SHOOTING VICTIMS: ADKINS, Texas (AP) — A daylong barbecue to help victims of the mass shooting at a Texas church raised more than $91,000.
Smokin’ Angels BBQ Ministry organized the effort Saturday at a tiny church in Adkins, a town just outside San Antonio. Organizers say all of the money raised will help families of those killed or wounded during the Nov. 5 shooting rampage at First Baptist Church in nearby Sutherland Springs.
The fundraiser sold thousands of $10 plates of barbecue. Many visitors also left additional donations.
Volunteers worked overnight smoking 5,000 pounds of meat. When they quickly sold out, another 6,500 pounds of meat was donated.
Ministry co-founder Mike Ritch says he’s proud of how volunteers came together in just three days.
Ritch and his wife, both professional chefs, founded the ministry after Hurricane Harvey when they saw a need to feed people in times of crisis.
▶MICHIGAN BAR APOLOGIZES FOR KICKING OUT
VETERAN, SERVICE DOG: GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (AP) — A western Michigan bar has apologized for asking a veteran and his service dog to leave the establishment.
Jerome Smith was asked to leave The Holiday Bar in Grand Rapids on Friday. Smith said he uses his service dog, Jo-Jo, to manage post traumatic stress disorder from his time as a Marine.
“I explained to them, ‘That’s not legal. That’s not right. You can’t do that,’” Smith said.
The Americans with Disabilities Act allows a person with a disability to bring a service animal into businesses that serve the public. Businesses can ask a service animal to leave if they believe the animal’s behavior may threaten the health or safety of others.
Bar staff said they were concerned for the safety of the dog and others in the crowded bar. The bar later posted an apology on its Facebook page and said it will donate all of its sales from Nov. 12 to the Grand Rapids Home for Veterans. The bar said it hopes the donation will help raise awareness about the importance of service animals.