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Update January 2018

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Update by Natrakorn Paewsoongnern
Odds & Ends  The Associated Press

Saturday, January 27, 2018 - February 2, 2018

Arizona high school put on lockdown as 4 bobcats are rescued

Anthem, Ariz. (AP) - A high school north of Phoenix was put on lockdown for several hours as authorities rescued four bobcats from a drainage pipe. Deer Valley Unified School District officials say a mother bobcat and her three babies apparently fell into the pipe on campus near the cafeteria. Students at Boulder Creek High School in Anthem were kept in their classrooms Monday morning as Arizona Game and Fish tranquilized the mother bobcat and got the four safely out of the pipe. School officials say the lockdown ended before noon.

Butcher trapped in freezer - “Black pudding saved my life”

London (AP) - A British butcher who got locked in a freezer says he was saved by a frozen sausage that he used as a battering ram. Chris McCabe says he became trapped in the walk-in freezer at his shop in Totnes, southwest England, last month when wind blew the door shut. The safety button to open the door had frozen in the -20 C (-4 F) chill. McCabe said he tried unsuccessfully to kick the button free before picking up a 1.5 kilogram (3.3 pound) black pudding, a form of blood sausage. McCabe told website Devon Live that he used the meaty tube “like a battering ram” and managed to unstick the button after several blows. The grateful butcher told the Daily Mirror: “Black pudding saved my life, without a doubt.”

Half-ton butter sculpture unveiled at Pennsylvania Farm Show

Harrisburg, Pa. (AP) - A half-ton (0.45 metric tons) of butter has been transformed into a sculpture celebrating Pennsylvania’s dairy industry and heralding the start of the state’s 102nd Farm Show. Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding says the sculpture unveiled Thursday highlights the careers and roles the dairy industry plays in the state. The sculpture features renderings of a cow and a farmer, an agronomist, a milk processor and a shopper with a basket full of products. The butter came from waste scrap butter unsuitable for human consumption. After the show the sculpture will be taken to a farm and turned into energy in a methane digester. The Pennsylvania Farm Show is the nation’s largest indoor agricultural event, featuring 12,000 competitive exhibits, more than 5,200 of which are animal competitions. It finished on Saturday Jan. 13.

(Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture via AP)

Outdoor center warns skiers
of dive-bombing owl

New Gloucester, Maine (AP) - Officials at a Maine outdoor center are warning skiers to watch out for an “aggressive dive-bombing” owl that recently struck a man. Pineland Farms says in a Facebook post the owl cut the man’s head when it attacked, and neither skiers nor trail groomers have seen the bird since. Pineland says the owl is protecting a nest near a cross-country ski trail. They believe the bird is either a barred owl or a great horned owl. The center has posted warning signs around the trail. They recommend people wave their arms overhead or wear a hat if they must pass by the area. Pineland says “owls are silent when they strike, so you will not hear it coming.”

Good Samaritans rescue moose
calf trapped in snow

Crouseville, Maine (AP) - A group of concerned citizens in Maine saved a young moose trapped in the snow. WLBT-TV reports that the group dug the calf out of 40 inches (101.6 centimeters) of snow in Crouseville on Monday. Lauren Allen’s husband was among the small crowd of helpers. Allen says Maine game wardens responded to help load the distressed animal onto a flat sled and move her to stable ground. Allen says the moose got stranded last week too and needed help. Community members think the calf lost its mother. But a Warden Service spokesman said there’s no happy ending. Cpl. John MacDonald said the baby moose’s labored breathing pointed toward an illness called lungworm. In consultation with wildlife biologists, Wardens determined the moose had to be put down.

Saturday, January 20, 2018 - January 26, 2018

Police: Man used bank robbery
cash to buy engagement ring

Middletown, Ohio (AP) - Authorities say a man robbed a bank in Ohio and used the money to buy his fiancée an engagement ring. The Hamilton-Middletown Journal-News reports 36-year-old Dustin Pedersen has been charged with robbing a Fifth Third Bank branch in Trenton on Dec. 16. Police say records show that Pedersen spent $4,500 on an engagement ring less than an hour after the robbery and presented it the next day. A Trenton police detective said in court Wednesday the robbery netted $8,800. Police say Pedersen became a suspect after a man wearing an identical hat robbed a Butler County bank six days later. Pedersen has denied robbing any banks, but told police that surveillance photos of the robber look like him. Pedersen’s attorney wasn’t immediately available for comment Thursday.

Russian army demonstrates latest weapon: Cuddly puppies

Moscow (AP) - The Russian Armed Forces has unveiled its latest cutting-edge weapon in a New Year’s greetings video: cuddly puppies. After a year of showing off its military might in Syria, the Defense Ministry has taken a softer approach in a one-minute video showing dozens of puppies sharing food and cuddling with each other. Older dogs are shown playing with unidentified officers. In the Chinese calendar, 2018 is the year of the dog, so many Russians are using dogs in their holiday greetings this season. Over 3,000 dogs are employed in the Russian armed forces. Dogs from the 470th Dog Breeding Center outside Moscow are among the most decorated in Russia. The center won an international competition last summer against the canine forces of Belarus, Egypt, Iran and Uzbekistan.

(AP Photo/ Russian Defense Ministry Press Service)

Police: Snow thwarts shoplifter
in North Dakota

Minot, N.D. (AP) - Authorities say a North Dakota man who wheeled a shopping cart with stolen merchandise out of a Hobby Lobby craft store was stopped by snow. Police say 22-year-old Dustin Johnson filled up a cart with about $4,000 in products at a Hobby Lobby store in Minot on Wednesday. After the cart got stuck in the snow in the parking lot and tipped over, Johnson allegedly ran off. Police say that along with the merchandise, Johnson left behind his wallet - which contained identification with his address. Johnson is charged in Ward County with theft of property. Court documents do not list a lawyer for him.

Rats! DC wages war against resurgent rodents with dry ice

Washington (AP) - Any mists spotted rising over the swamp may just be Washington wielding its newest weapon in its never-ending war on rats: dry ice. The District of Columbia’s rodent control division’s program manager, Gerard Brown, tells The Washington Post the frozen form of carbon dioxide complements the poison the city uses, as reported rat complaints reach a four-year high. Last month, Brown and Mayor Muriel Bowser oversaw a demonstration in which health department staffers stuffed dry ice into a northeast Washington alley rat hole. As the ice smoked, the emanating carbon dioxide suffocated the rats, according to Brown’s explanation. Residents are encouraged to purchase their own dry ice. The city is working on usage guidelines. Department of Energy and Environment Director Tommy Wells says dry ice is relatively humane, cheap and pet-friendly.

 (Salwan Georges /The Washington Post via AP)

Update January 13, 2018 - January 19, 2018

(AP Photo/Andres Kudacki, File)

Box of horse manure addressed to US treasury secretary

Los Angeles (AP) - Authorities say a gift-wrapped box of horse manure addressed to U.S. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin (mih-NOO’-shin) was found near his home in Los Angeles. The package was found Saturday night in the tiny Bel Air neighborhood after it was dropped off at a neighbor’s house. The Los Angeles Police Department’s bomb squad was called to the home and officers opened the box, finding a pile of horse manure inside. Police said the package had been gift-wrapped and was marked as being from “the American people.” Police said the Secret Service was taking over the investigation. A Secret Service spokesman said the agency was aware of the incident but declined to comment further. A spokesman for the Treasury Department did not immediately respond to a request for comment Sunday.

Retired justice ‘so disappointed’
to be kept off jury

Boston (AP) - She was impartial enough to serve as a justice on the highest court in Massachusetts, but apparently that wasn’t enough for Geraldine Hines to be named a juror in a murder trial. The 70-year-old Hines, who retired from the Supreme Judicial Court in August, said she was “so disappointed” when the prosecutor rejected her as a juror Wednesday. Hines tells The Boston Globe, “I’ve been waiting my whole life to be a juror in a criminal case.” After questioning from defense attorneys and Suffolk Assistant District Attorney Mark Lee, Lee used one of his challenges to keep Hines off the jury. He apologized outside of court. The case involves two gang members involved in a gunfight at a festival in Boston in 2014 that took the life of an innocent bystander.

Fed-up passenger sought fast
track on Ryanair wing

Madrid (AP) - A Ryanair passenger who apparently got fed up waiting to get off a plane surprised fellow passengers by using the emergency exit to jump onto a wing. The incident on New Year’s Day took place 30 minutes after the flight landed in the southern Spanish city of Malaga from London’s Stansted Airport, where it had also been delayed. The man was coaxed back into the plane while police were called. Fellow passenger Fernando del Valle Villalobos, who videoed the incident, said he heard the man say he got fed up waiting. Police said Wednesday that they have opened a complaint against the man for breaching security. They confirmed he is a non-Spanish citizen. Ryanair said the incident was now in the hands of Spanish authorities.

Woman claims surgeon talked
on cellphone during operation

White Plains, N.Y. (AP) - A suburban New York City woman has sued a doctor, claiming he used his cellphone to take a language test while operating on her. The Journal News reports 70-year-old Mary Edwards, of Port Chester, filed a lawsuit Monday in state Supreme Court against Dr. Eric Fishman and his employer, Westmed Medical Group. The lawsuit seeks unspecified monetary damages. Fishman performed surgery on Edwards to fix varicose veins twice in 2017. According to the lawsuit, Edwards claims Fishman had a conversation in Spanish on his cellphone during the second outpatient procedure. Edwards’ attorney says his client was terrified for the rest of the operation. Edwards claims Fishman later explained he was taking a Spanish proficiency test during the surgery. A Westmed spokeswoman said the company doesn’t comment on pending litigation.

Gaza eatery offers discounts
to North Koreans but no takers

Gaza City, Gaza Strip (AP) - A Gaza eatery is offering massive discounts to North Korean diners but there is just one problem - there are no North Koreans in Gaza. Ibrahim Raba, manager of a shawarma restaurant in Gaza’s Jabaliya refugee camp, says he is offering the 80 percent discounts to show his appreciation for North Korea’s rejection of President Donald Trump’s recent recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. He has also placed a large photo of reclusive North Korean leader Kim Jong Un on the glass door entrance to his restaurant. A new Kim fan, Raba likes to quote the North Korean leader, saying: “Trump proved he is mentally deranged.” And though Raba knows there are no North Koreans in Gaza, he hopes they will come someday, perhaps after joining other foreign aid workers.


Update Saturday, Jan. 6 - Jan. 12, 2018

Man’s 1944 love letter found
within remodeled home’s walls

Greenfield, Mass. (AP) - Massachusetts police have a new mystery to solve: Who wrote a 1944 love letter discovered within the walls of a house being remodeled? The Greenfield Police Department took to Facebook on Saturday to ask for the public’s help in figuring out the backstory behind the handwritten letter. Police say the letter is dated April 19, 1944, and was penned by a man who identified himself only as Walter. The letter was addressed to Miss Betty Miller, of Greenfield. In the letter, Walter makes no attempt to hide his affections. He writes: “I have always thought more of you than any other girl, and I still do.” Police say they only have one motive: reuniting the letter with Miller or her family.

A cougar in your luggage?
Hunting carcass found at airport

Las Vegas (AP) - Police say a hunter’s trip home hit a snag in Las Vegas after security screeners found a dead cougar in his luggage. No crime was committed because the man had a hunting tag. But police Lt. David Gordon told the Las Vegas Review-Journal that Transportation Security Administration agents held the man at McCarran International Airport late Tuesday to confirm the validity of the Utah hunting tag. His name and where he was headed weren’t released. Airport spokeswoman Melissa Nunnery says the man ended up shipping the cougar carcass home, not on the airplane. Gordon says it’s not a crime to transport legally possessed game on an airline flight. But he says airlines can refuse to transport certain items.

Life-size elf decoration turns heads, even loses his own

Rockport, Mass. (AP) - A life-size elf mannequin on display in a Massachusetts yard has been turning heads - and occasionally losing his own. Actress Melissa McMeekin has been having a little fun by moving her 6-foot-tall elf doll to different locations outside her Rockport home. During the countdown to Christmas, Daryl the red-suited elf has appeared seated on a tree branch, riding a bicycle, lying on a hammock and tied up like a hostage. McMeekin tells the Gloucester Times her family has been getting a kick out of the double takes the moveable elf has elicited from passers-by. She says on one blustery day Daryl fell off his bike and his head landed a few feet away. McMeekin’s acting credits include “The Fighter,” ‘’American Hustle” and other films.

Not fake news: ‘Whatever’ tops
annoying word list, literally

Poughkeepsie, N.Y. (AP) - The shoulder-shrugging reply “whatever” continues to annoy Americans more than other words or phrases, but “fake news” is coming on strong. The annual Marist College poll of most annoying words and phrases found “whatever” topping the list for the ninth straight year. It was the pick of one third of poll respondents, who were given five choices. The recent addition “fake news” was slightly ahead of “no offense, but” for second place, 23 percent to 20 percent. About one in 10 found “literally” to be most grating, as did a similar number for “you know what I mean.” The telephone survey of 1,074 adults conducted Nov. 6-9 has a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percentage points.

Special delivery Family welcomes 2nd Christmas Eve baby

Stony Brook, N.Y. (AP) - For one suburban New York family, Christmas Eve is turning into a tradition of very special deliveries. Newsday says Stony Brook residents Jacki and Josh Grossman had their second son on Sunday, four years after their first son arrived. Baby Elliott and older brother Oliver were delivered at Stony Brook University Hospital by Dr. Phil Schoenfeld. The doctor has worked Christmas Eve at the hospital for the past 17 years. Jacki Grossman says she “couldn’t feel more blessed” than to have her boys share such a special day. She says, “It must have been meant to be.” Oliver says he doesn’t mind sharing his birthday with his new brother. His mother says he ran around the hospital spreading the news.



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HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]

Saturday, January 27, 2018 - February 2, 2018

Saturday, January 20, 2018 - January 26, 2018

Update January 13, 2018 - January 19, 2018

Update Saturday, Jan. 6 - Jan. 12, 2018


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