heimlicH saves pet parrot: Dr. Heimlich saved another life last week.

Brentwood 18-year-old Haley Bennetts came to the rescue of a pet parrot using her version of the Heimlich maneuver, a series of abdominal thrusts designed to dislodge an obstruction in the windpipe.

It seems that Teddy, a 4-year-old Caique, had been enjoying a bite of banana when it went down the wrong way.

Bennetts was bending down when she heard a soft, throaty noise coming from his cage.

At first, she thought it was the sound that birds commonly make when they're contented, but upon a closer look she realized he was choking. Teddy was exhibiting all the signs of agitation: His feathers were ruffled, he was stretching his neck, and his pupils were dilating and constricting rapidly.

Bennetts massaged the bird's torso for roughly a minute before Teddy suddenly spread his wings and expelled a chunk of banana she describes as the size of half a thumb.

"It shot out," she said. "When it came out, he was all happy. He started chirping."

Although Bennetts doesn't plan to deny Teddy his favorite food from now on, she thinks she'll cut the banana slices smaller.

Curling and bocce: At a recent Bay Point Partnership meeting, people shared what they had been up to lately before they got down to business.

Ken Gray, recreation coordinator for the Ambrose Recreation & Park District, said he had put a bocce court in his backyard. He went on to use an Olympic winter sport to help explain bocce ball.


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"You have seen curling in the Olympics. It's kind of like that. No one is going to die playing bocce ball," he said.

Raiders in Richmond?: During a spirited Richmond City Council meeting debate centered on revelations that the city's housing authority is badly mismanaged, one City Council member drew an interesting analogy to demonstrate his lack of faith in the current players' ability to fix the problems.

Councilman Nat Bates, a longtime Oakland Raiders season ticket holder, said he has "as much confidence in the current (housing authority managers) as I do in the Raiders winning the Super Bowl next year."

Councilman Jim Rogers couldn't resist following that up.

"It is our responsibility up here to make sure we have the right coaches on the field, and that hasn't happened," Rogers said.

The Eye longs for the day when the Raiders will no longer serve as a useful example of futility.

No sodas, but Scantrons: The Eye has spotted its share of unusual vending machines over the years -- from the traditional soda can dispenser to the more modern 20-ounce bottle version.

There's the kind that drops down goodies such as Cheetos or M&M's. The Eye even noticed the bowling alley has a contraption that allows for purchasing gloves.

The Eye can add another unique use to the list after a recent trip to Los Medanos College's Brentwood campus: Scantrons.

The machine in the hall of the community center includes large and small "Blue Books" for essay writing, six packs of 100-point Scantrons, 15 packs of 15-point Scantrons and essay Scantrons.

Because the Brentwood campus has a fairly small student population, it does not have a campus bookstore. The machine was added in the fall to meet student needs, Kevin Horan, Los Medanos' vice president, said during a recent site tour.

Unscripted flyover: The Eye looked up in surprise during a recent ceremony for the opening of Diablo Valley College's machinist technology, or mTECH, program.

A plane making its landing approach into nearby Buchanan Field in Concord roared overhead as DVC engineering department Chairman Daniel Abbott spoke about future improvements in the pipeline.

Eventually, the sound was too loud for Abbott's soft-speaking voice, and he paused while the aircraft made its way past the Pleasant Hill campus.

If the plane had roared by five minutes earlier, it could have been played up as part of the open house.

Staff writers Rowena Coetsee, Eve Mitchell, Paul Burgarino and Robert Rogers contributed to this column.