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Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Update January 2019


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Update by Natrakorn Paewsoongnern
 
 
 
Odds & Ends  The Associated Press
 

January 25, 2019 - January 31, 2019

(Tina Radel/City of Westbrook via AP)

Giant rotating ice disk draws attention, visitors

Westbrook, Maine (AP) - Think of it as a crop circle, but in a river. A curious formation that’s getting attention in Greater Portland is actually a spinning ice disk that is roughly 100 yards (91 meters) wide. The formation in the Presumpscot River was widely shared on social media and has drawn comparisons to an alien spacecraft, a carousel and the moon. The oddity drew a crowd that stood mesmerized by the slow-turning disk Tuesday afternoon in Westbrook. The ice formation is believed to have formed naturally in a part of the river where there’s a circular current that creates a whirlpool effect, said Tina Radel, the city’s marketing and communications manager. Locals say they’ve seen smaller ice disks before, but nothing like this one, Radel said. Rob Mitchell, who owns a nearby office building, spotted the alien-looking disk Monday morning and immediately notified the city. Officials say the disk is spinning slowly counter-clockwise, and has served as a big raft for ducks and other birds. “The ducks were rotating on this big Lazy Susan,” Mitchell said.

‘Don’t feed the fatberg’: Huge mass blocks English sewer

London (AP) - A British official says a giant “fatberg” has been found blocking a sewer in southwestern England: a mass of hardened fat, oil and baby wipes measuring 64 meters (210 feet) long. Andrew Roantree of South West Water says it will “take our sewer team around eight weeks to dissect this monster in exceptionally challenging work conditions.” He urged the public not to pour grease down the drain or flush baby wipes down the toilet, adding: “Don’t feed the fatberg.” The revolting fat mass was discovered in drains in the coastal town of Sidmouth. In 2017, a 250-meter (820-foot) fatberg was found in sewers beneath Whitechapel in east London. A chunk of that later went on display at the Museum of London, nestled inside transparent boxes.

(South West Water via AP)

 

Chocolate spill creates sweet hot mess on Arizona highway

Flagsstaff, Ariz. (AP) - Authorities in northern Arizona had a sweet hot mess on their hands after a tank trucker’s trailer detached from the truck and rolled on its side on slick pavement, spilling a river of liquid chocolate onto westbound lanes of Interstate 40. The Arizona Daily Sun reports the wreck Monday about 11 miles (18 kilometers) east of Flagstaff required cleanup crews to pour most of the 40,000 gallons (151,412 liters) of chocolate into the highway median to lighten the damaged tanker so it could be towed away. The chocolate was liquid because it was being stored in the tanker at 120 degrees (49 Celsius). State Department of Public Safety spokesman Bart Graves says there were no injuries. The driver was not cited.

(Arizona DPS via AP)


January 19, 2019 - January 25, 2019

(Alaska Regional Hospital via AP)

A moose walks into an Alaska hospital
and finds a snack

Anchorage, Alaska (AP) - A moose wandered into a hospital building in Alaska’s largest city and chowed down on some plants in the lobby as workers watched the massive animal in awe. When a patient mentioned that security staffers were monitoring a moose that got inside the Anchorage building Monday, Stephanie Hupton dashed out and started recording. “Didn’t think we’d have a pet moose,” said Hupton, who works in billing at a physical therapy office inside a building attached to Alaska Regional Hospital. The footage shows the moose browsing around some greenery near an entrance before it stands gazing at the camera’s direction. It briefly lingers before sauntering out through an open door. Hupton said she never felt threatened by the mellow creature. It was an experience she never expected when she moved to Anchorage three years ago from Carroll, Iowa. “It’s definitely different than small-town Iowa,” she said. The moose got inside through doors that were stuck open because of extreme cold in Anchorage, where temperatures hovered around zero Monday, hospital spokeswoman Kjerstin Lastufka said. The plants in the warm lobby were likely inviting to the animal, who ate some of them before leaving after about 10 minutes, Lastufka said. The moose caused no injuries or any big problems, other than the snacking. “It was a pretty calm visit,” Lastufka said.

Oklahoma game warden catches
poacher via dating app

Checotah, Okla. (AP) - An Oklahoma woman looking for love got more than she bargained for when she unwittingly shared her exhilaration about illegally shooting a “bigo buck” on a dating app with a state game warden. Oklahoma Game Warden Cannon Harrison says he uncovered the poaching in a conversation on Bumble with a McIntosh County woman. She talked about using a spotlight to shoot the deer at night, outside the rifle season. The woman only harvested the head and back-strap meat - and she sent Harrison pictures as proof. The woman has pleaded guilty to charges of improper possession of an illegally taken animal and taking game out-of-season. She and an accomplice face $2,400 fines. The incident was posted to the Oklahoma Game Wardens Facebook page on Sunday night.

Couple reunited with engagement
ring dropped in sewer

New York (AP) - Police in New York City say they helped a couple ring in the New Year by reuniting them with their missing engagement ring. NBC New York reports the diamond ring was dropped down a sewer grate Thursday near Times Square. Officers noticed the ring in a grate on Eighth Avenue and 48th Street and recovered it with the help of the FDNY and a police emergency services unit. The NYPD says in a tweet the couple was reunited with their ring Friday. While it was the first engagement ring recovered in 2019, the NYPD found another engagement ring last month that was given back to the couple on “The Ellen Show.”

Montana lawmaker proposes
state rock and roll song

Helena, Mont. (AP) - Montana has a state song, a state ballad and a state lullaby. And, for goodness sake, Democratic Rep. Jacob Bachmeier of Havre would like to see the 2019 Legislature declare the “Hippy Hippy Shake” Montana’s official rock and roll song. It was written in 1959 by Chan Romero when he was a 17-year-old student at Billings Senior High School. Romero, who now lives in Southern California, tells the Great Falls Tribune his song has been featured in seven or eight movies and has been recorded by about 20 groups, including The Beatles. He says he’d be proud to have his song honored by the Legislature. The bill’s introduction borrows from the song’s lyrics in saying: “WHEREAS, Montanans shake it to the left and shake it to the right and do everything with all of their might.”


January 12, 2019 - January 18, 2019

Officials: Man broke into home, got owner to give him a ride

Waterboro, Maine (AP) - Authorities in Maine say a man broke into a home, had a bite to eat, watched TV and even got a car ride from his unsuspecting victim. The York County sheriff’s office said 35-year-old Derek Tarbox broke into a Waterboro home Sunday afternoon, took a shower, got dressed in the homeowner’s clothing and was watching television when the homeowner arrived. The intruder said he mistakenly thought the house belonged to a friend and asked for a ride home. The homeowner told authorities that seemed plausible, so he drove him to a house in Hollis, which actually belonged to Tarbox’s relatives. The victim later realized his home had been ransacked. Tarbox, who was arrested in Limrick, was due to be arraigned on burglary and other charges Wednesday. It was unclear if he has a lawyer.

Chipped tooth? No! Diner finds pearl
in his oyster dish

New York (AP) - A lucky diner says he happened upon a pearl while eating an oyster dish at a famous New York City restaurant. Rick Antosh was out to lunch with a friend and ordered his usual at the Grand Central Oyster Bar on Dec. 5 - the $14.75 pan roast, a stew-like dish that includes six oysters. The 66-year-old tells the New York Post that he felt a small object rolling around his mouth after diving into the dish. “For a fraction of a second, there was terror,” Antosh told the Post. “Is it a tooth? Is it a filling?” The Edgewater, New Jersey, resident says it turned out to be a pea-sized pearl. He has not had the prize appraised. “I’ve been here 28 years,” said Sandy Ingber, the restaurant’s executive chef. “This is only the second time I’ve seen this happen. And we sell over 5,000 oysters on the half shell every day.” The occurrence of natural pearls in oysters is not well understood, but anecdotally it has been estimated at one in 10,000, according to Matthew W. Gray, an oyster physiologist at the University of Maryland. Antosh said he’s not yet sure what he’ll do with the find. “I will definitely come back and try to find more pearls,” he said. “You never know.”

Burger joint closes after video
appears to show rat cooking

Honolulu (AP) - A Hawaii-based burger chain has closed a Honolulu restaurant for cleaning after a video posted to social media appeared to show a rat being cooked on the grill. Teddy’s Bigger Burgers has closed the Mapunapuna location and fired two employees who appeared in the Snapchat video. “We are horrified that a former teenage employee would conduct themselves in that way and make such a video of which we are investigating its authenticity,” said Richard Stula, the president of Teddy’s Bigger Burgers. The company initiated a “complete sanitization” and is replacing equipment and utensils at the fast-food restaurant after the video was shared with them several days ago, Stula said in the statement. “We will then send a corporate team in to inspect and complete a thorough audit of the location before it is allowed to re-open,” Stula said. The state Department of Health is scheduled to inspect the restaurant on Mapunapuna Street on Friday. The company is also contacting a licensed pest control operator to examine the restaurant for rodents, said Peter Oshiro, the state’s environmental health program manager. “DOH appreciates the remedial and proactive efforts undertaken by the restaurant owner to protect public health,” Oshiro said in a statement. The restaurant received a passing green placard following its last state inspection in June. The company is consulting with its attorneys about potential legal action against the former employees, Stula said. “We are horrified a former employee would create something like this trying to destroy our reputation without regard for our 20-plus years of quality and aloha,” he said.

Stolen purple penguin statue
returned to hotel museum

Oklahoma City (AP) - A large purple penguin statue that was swiped from a hotel in Oklahoma City apparently managed to waddle back home after police released surveillance camera images of a man with the $3,000 piece of art tucked under his arm. Oklahoma City police on Friday announced that the statue, which disappeared Sunday night from the 21c Museum Hotel, had been “returned home.” No arrests have been announced. Hotel staff speculated that it was stolen by someone visiting a guest. Surveillance images show a man carrying the artwork by its head. The penguin is about two-thirds the height of the statue thief. A spokeswoman for the hotel said she was “thrilled the penguin has been returned to our flock”.
 


UPDATE

HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]

January 25, 2019 - January 31, 2019

January 19, 2019 - January 24, 2019

January 12, 2019 - January 18, 2019