And if Jim Styers succeeds in training his sea lions to be lifeguards, that scene could become a common occurrence.
Styers, 35, is director of the Marine Animal Training Center in Laguna Beach, Calif. and is known principally for having helped to train Shamu, the killer whale. Styers has been working with two female sea lions named Fay and Joyce (after the characters in Hill Street Blues) since November. "They have about the same intelligence as a smart dog," he says. Sea lions are equipped with their own sonar, enabling them to locate objects underwater by sound wave. They can also streak through the waves at up to 25 mph, about eight times faster than a good lifeguard.
Styers envisions sea lions in cages with portable pools next to the lifeguards, ready to be dispatched with a life buoy to a drowning person. Despite their intelligence and friendly disposition, California's sea lions have occasionally been shot by fishermen who believe they eat or scare away valuable catches. If Styers' training succeeds, however, the animals' detractors may have reason one day to thank these St. Bernards of the sea.
Ronald Reagan won reelection as America's oldest chief executive ever, but that didn't stop Republican John Rowland from campaigning on his youth. At 27, the former state representative scored an upset victory over three-term Democratic incumbent William Ratchford, 50, in Connecticut's Fifth District, thereby becoming the youngest person in Congress.
With his wife, Deborah, 26, and newborn daughter Kirsten at his side, Rowland declared, "I'm a baby boomer" and beat the yuppie drum in cities, mill towns and affluent Fairfield County communities. Both Reagan and former President Gerald R. Ford made campaign appearances in Rowland's behalf, and he rode the conservative wave to a 20,000-vote plurality, despite being outspent 2 to 1 by his opponent. Rowland will divide his time between a one-bedroom apartment in Washington and an 85-year-old home in the hills overlooking Waterbury.
A 1979 graduate of Villanova in business administration, Rowland was selling insurance a year later when Waterbury's Republican Committee tapped him to run for the state legislature. With $300 from the committee and $1,600 of his own, he won by 1,000 votes. Reelected in 1982, he became Minority Whip. This time around, he had a slew of volunteers whose average age was 25. Rowland hopes his impact on the political process will remain youthful, even as he ages in office. "if "I'm here when I'm 55," he says, "I'll need a staff of young people."
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