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Update April - May, 2019

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Update by Natrakorn Paewsoongnern
Odds & Ends  The Associated Press

May 4, 2019 - May 12, 2019

Snakes in office force Liberia's president to work from home

Monrovia, Liberia (AP) — A spokesman says Liberia's president is working from home after two snakes were found in the building that contains his office. Deputy press secretary Smith Toby tells The Associated Press that former international soccer star and President George Weah was told to stay away until the Foreign Affairs building can be fumigated. He is expected back in the office on Monday. The black snakes were seen this week briefly emerging from a hole in a wall of the building's reception area. Liberia is home to poisonous snakes and officials are not taking chances. The deputy press secretary says the fumigation has begun to take care of "crawling and creeping things." Weah, who was FIFA's 1995 player of the year, assumed the presidency in January 2018.


Judge: Animal shelter to keep tiger seized from Houston home

Houston (AP) - A judge has ruled that an animal shelter can keep a tiger that was rescued from an abandoned Houston home. The Cleveland Amory Black Beauty Ranch in Murchison has looked after the tiger since February, when some people entered the house to smoke marijuana and found the big cat. Authorities say the 350 pound (160 kilogram) tiger was improperly secured in a small cage, and was sitting on hay and its own waste. Houston police believe Brittany Garza is the tiger's owner and have filed a civil lawsuit accusing her of animal cruelty. She refuses to explain how she obtained the tiger. The Houston Chronicle reports that the judge ordered Garza to pay about $11,600 to cover the cost of the tiger's care. Garza's lawyer declined comment.

(Godofredo A. Vasquez/Houston Chronicle via AP, File)

Bald eagle rescued from railroad tracks, trains delayed

Landover, Md. (AP) - Some commuters in the nation's capital faced delays after an injured bald eagle was found on railroad tracks. The bird was spotted during the start of Wednesday evening's rush on Washington D.C. Metro tracks in Landover, Maryland. It was close to the electrified third rail. Metro single-tracked some trains and rerouted others while a rescue crew, including animal control personnel, recovered the eagle. The bird was taken to a rehabilitation center. There is no word on the extent of its injury or condition. Metro restored rail service nearly two hours later.


Man sues parents for getting rid of his vast porn collection

Grand Rapids, Mich. (AP) — An Indiana man is suing his parents for getting rid of his vast pornography collection, which he estimates is worth $29,000. The 40-year-old man last week filed a lawsuit in federal court in Michigan, where he moved in with his parents in 2016 following a divorce. He says that when he moved out 10 months later, they delivered his things to his new home in Muncie, Indiana, but that his 12 boxes of pornographic films and magazines were missing. His parents admit they dumped the porn, which included titles such as "Frisky Business" and "Big Bad Grannys." The man filed a complaint with police, but the Ottawa County prosecutor declined to press charges. The lawsuit includes an email excerpt from the man's father, who told his son, "I did you a big favor by getting rid of all this stuff." The man is seeking triple financial damages of roughly $87,000.


Police: Pair made laxative cookies for striking workers

Uhrichsville, Ohio (AP) — Police say a couple made laxative-laced cookies for striking school employees because they were tired of the noise from the picket line near their home. Authorities in eastern Ohio say none of the striking workers ate the sugar cookies, but the couple was charged with contaminating the treats. Police say the pair complained on Facebook about drivers honking in support of the striking bus drivers, cooks and custodians. Investigators say they also made a video showing the laxative pills being mixed into the cookie batter. The strike in the Claymont School District in Tuscarawas (tus-kuh-RAH'-wus) County is in its third week. Authorities say Bo Cosens and Rachel Sharrock appeared in court Tuesday to face several charges. Sharrock's attorney declined to comment Friday. Court records didn't list an attorney for Cosens.

April 27, 2019 - May 3, 2019

(Ed Murray/NJ Advance Media via AP)

Woman charged for damaging neighbor’s racy Easter display

Clifton, N.J. (AP) — A New Jersey woman who used garden shears to destroy her neighbor’s racy Easter display has been charged with criminal mischief. The display at a dental office in Clifton, New Jersey, featured five mannequins dressed in lingerie, all holding Easter baskets and surrounded by Easter eggs. It had drawn mixed reviews from neighbors, as well as passers-by who stopped to take photos. A television news crew was filming the display earlier this week when 37-year-old Desiree Shepstone took it down. She says she didn’t want her 16-year-old son to be subjected to the “disgusting” display. The dentist who created the display, Wayne Gangi, says he will soon have it back up. He says he got the idea for the Playboy bunnies-themed decorations during a trip to Party City.

No kidding: Woman pulled over had baby goat in lap

Marlborough, N.H. (AP) - Police in New Hampshire say they cited a driver who had a kid in her lap - the baby goat kind. Marlborough police say they pulled the woman over on April Fool’s Day when they saw her using her cellphone. They soon realized that she was driving without a valid license - and with the goat. Police said the driver was a 60-year-old woman from Sullivan, New Hampshire. She was released on a citation for operating without a valid license. She also was counseled about distracted driving. Police posted the encounter on Facebook, with the comment, “I wish this was another April Fool’s joke baaaht it’s not.”

Creepy cargo: Philippines
seizes 757 tarantulas from Poland

Manila, Philippines (AP) - Philippine customs officials were astonished when they opened nicely gift-wrapped boxes of cookies and oatmeal flown in all the way from Poland and found a hair-raising contraband: hundreds of live tarantulas. Bureau of Customs personnel seized the 757 tarantulas at a mail exchange center near Manila’s international airport Monday and later arrested a Filipino man who tried to claim the long-legged and venomous spiders, which were declared as “collection items.” Many of the baby tarantulas were concealed in small plastic vials punctured with holes for air while bigger spiders were shipped in see-through plastic containers. Officials estimated the value of the unusual shipment at 310,000 pesos ($5,900). Philippine wildlife laws prohibit the trading, collection and possession of such spiders, which are popular pets among arachnid enthusiasts, without permits. Despite threats of hefty fines and imprisonment, a startling array of wildlife has been seized by the hundreds by airport customs inspectors in Manila since last year, including geckos, iguanas, chameleons and a popular reptile called bearded dragons.

(AP Photo/Aaron Favila)

Big Sexy found after bolting
from NY firefighter shoot

New York (AP) - Big Sexy the cat went on a five-week romp around New York City, bolting from a photo shoot for a bare-chested firefighter charity calendar. The big black feline was finally found Friday on Staten Island after disappearing from a lower Manhattan firehouse. The lost pet showed up in the backyard of a woman whose firefighter husband was a 9/11 first responder who died of cancer last year. The firefighters called the cat Big Sexy, but its real name is Buddy. Staten Island resident Michele Froehlich-Perosi snapped a photo and posted it on Facebook. And the owner, Leslie Silbert, recognized her cat. The code on the cat’s embedded chip confirmed this was, indeed, Big Sexy, aka Buddy.

(Michele Perosi-Froehlich via AP)

Friday April 19, 2019 - April 25, 2019

(AP Photo Matt Rourke, File)


Candy company exec who
mass-produced Peeps gets his own day

Bethlehem, Pa. (AP) - With prime Peeps season about to get underway, the Pennsylvania city where they’re “born” is honoring the man who brought marshmallow chicks to the masses. The (Allentown) Morning Call reports that Bethlehem Mayor Robert Donchez proclaimed Friday as “Bob Born Day” in a ceremony at company offices. Born, now 94, joined his father’s candy business in 1946 and figured out a way to automate production of Peeps, which had been made by hand. Today, Just Born produces about 5.5 million Peeps per day. The city’s proclamation says Peeps are “an iconic symbol of Easter.” Just Born CEO Ross Born, Bob Born’s son, says “we are thankful for his many years of service to Just Born.”

California shoplifter stuffs chain
saw down his pants

Fresno, Calif. (AP) - A California business owner says store surveillance video recorded a man stealing a small chain saw by stuffing it down his pants. Jeff Bennett of RG Equipment tells the Fresno Bee his security camera caught the theft Wednesday afternoon. The video shows the man take the chain saw from a display, stuff the blade down his pants and cover the engine assembly with his jacket. Bennett says the man drove off in a pickup truck. He believes an accomplice was watching the store last week.

In Sweden, naked policeman
arrests fugitive in sauna

Copenhagen, Denmark (AP) - There’s no escape from the long arm of the law in Sweden. Not even sitting naked in a sauna. Police spokeswoman Carina Skagerlind says an off-duty police officer found himself sitting in the same sauna in Rinkeby, a Stockholm suburb, as a fugitive who had dodged a jail sentence for aggravated assault, among other offenses. Skagerlind says after recognizing each other, “the naked police officer calmly told the man that he should consider himself arrested.” She said Tuesday the officer called colleagues to pick up the fugitive, adding “the arrest was undramatic and the wanted man didn’t try to flee.” The officer was praised for the March 29 arrest and police warned fugitives on Facebook: “We are everywhere. Even if you do not see us, we are there.”

English-speaking men can face
arrest for antics in Poland

Warsaw, Poland (AP) - Police in southern Poland say they are investigating four English-speaking tourists spotted last week in the historic city of Krakow wearing only mankinis. The four men were caught on CCTV and by an Associated Press photographer Friday as they walked in the picturesque Renaissance Market Square and got into a horse cab. They were wearing lime green mankinis, as worn by Borat, the fictional Kazakh alter ego of comic actor Sacha Baron Cohen. Krakow province police spokesman Sebastian Glen said Thursday police are investigating the “indecent antics.” If convicted, the men could face up to 30 days in custody or fines of 5,000 zlotys ($1,300) each. Glen said that foreign tourists, especially British ones, who come for stag parties sometimes cause disturbance in the historic city, especially after drinking alcohol.

(AP Photo/Czarek Sokolowski)

Friday April 12, 2019 - April 18, 2019

Boo light special? Market
defends self against ghost claim

Wilmington, Mass. (AP) - A New England supermarket chain is spiriting away rumors that one of its stores is haunted. A spokeswoman for Market Basket says in a statement to The Boston Globe that “as far as we know all of our stores ghost-free” after someone posted on social media this month about seeing an apparition at a store in Wilmington, Massachusetts. The person said the ghost was “an old Victorian era woman in her nightgown ... near the frozen peas.” Hundreds of people weighed in, including others who claimed to have seen a ghost in the store. Justine Griffin, the Market Basket spokeswoman, says that if there is anything to the ghost story, it’s probably because she’s “attracted to our Victorian-era prices.”

Is that beer skunked?
Skunk gets head stuck in beer can

Billerica, Mass. (AP) - A skunk that somehow got its head stuck in a discarded can of beer is being cared for by veterinarians in Massachusetts. Animal control officers in Billerica (BILL’-rick-ah) posted a picture of the unfortunate critter on Twitter. They said it “amazing” that its head could fit into such a small opening and noted that it gave new meaning to the term “skunked beer.” Police said the skunk was taken to Tufts Wildlife Clinic in North Grafton after being found Wednesday. The plan was to sedate the skunk before removing the aluminum can, and then monitor the animal for a few days before returning it to the wild.

Mexican police nab man who
tried to rob bank with loader

Mexico City (AP) - Police in Mexico say they caught a man who stole a front-end loader, drove it to a local bank, knocked down a wall, chained a safe to the machine and tried to drag it off. Prosecutors in the central state of Morelos say the loader had a front bucket as well as a jackhammer the thieves used to destroy the wall of the bank. They then chained the bank’s safe to the vehicle, apparently to drag it away. They didn’t get far, however. Alerted by reports of the equipment theft, police in the town of Oaxtepec used surveillance cameras to locate the men and detect their noisy, slow-motion robbery attempt early Friday. One suspect was detained, while the others fled.

Full ride: Man allegedly steals snack truck, eats nothing

Elmira, N.Y. (AP) - It appears an upstate New York man was not hungry when police say he stole a Little Debbie delivery truck. Police say 38-year-old Joseph Tocco of Elmira swiped the truck from a loading dock. Police stopped it a short time later. Police say Tocco told them he took the truck to visit relatives and friends. It did not appear any of the snacks were missing. Tocco is charged with possession of stolen property. He is being held in jail pending an arraignment.

Knitting with a repurpose:
Woman makes suit of plastic bags

Greece, N.Y. (AP) - Rosa Ferrigno’s new suit takes recycling to an extreme - she knitted it from more than 300 plastic grocery bags. The 75-year-old woman from Greece in western New York whiled away the winter knitting a skirt and jacket from filmy brown bags scissored into thin strips that were tied together to make yarn. She lined it with cotton fabric. The finished garment is quite chic, with a tweedy look from green printing on the brown bags. Her daughter, Fran Bertalli, tells the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle that Ferrigno has been knitting and sewing since her childhood in Sicily. Last summer, Ferrigno saw someone’s purse made from repurposed plastic bags and started her own bag projects, making two purses before the suit. She says she does it just for fun.

(Jamie Germano/Democrat & Chronicle via AP)

Friday April 5, 2019 - April 11, 2019

(Vernon Bryant/The Dallas Morning News via AP)

Escaped wallaby goes on walkabout in Dallas neighborhood

Dallas (AP) - A wallaby who apparently escaped his owners went on a walkabout in an east Dallas neighborhood before being recaptured. Tim Tiernan said he and his wife were taking a morning walk when they saw what they first thought was a dog. The wallaby hopped into the couple’s driveway and up to their back door. Dallas Animal Services officers eventually caught the marsupial in the couple’s backyard. The animal was identified as Muggsy and picked up by his owner. Officials didn’t release the owner’s name or how the wallaby escaped. The agency said the wallaby is kept on a country ranch. Wallabies are native to Australia and surrounding islands and are a close relative of the kangaroo.

94-year-old WWII veteran
finally gets high school diploma

Shrewsbury, Mass. (AP) - A 94-year-old World War II veteran has received his high school diploma - 74 years after he would have gotten had he not enlisted. Paul Snow says he felt “naked” from all the attention he received during a ceremony at St. John’s High School, but says he always wanted to get his diploma. The Worcester Telegram & Gazette reports the Worcester native enlisted in the U.S. Navy a day before his 18th birthday in 1943, and was honorably discharged about three years later. Democratic U.S. Rep. James McGovern and St. John’s High School worked together to award a diploma to Snow as a tribute to his service. Snow was awarded with an honorary diploma dated June 17, 1945.

Reel-y? New beer can double
as motion picture film developer

Rochester, N.Y. (AP) - Kodak says a new beer hitting the market can be used to develop its Super 8 movie film. Dogfish Head Craft Brewery in Delaware created its SuperEIGHT beer after a conversation with people at Kodak, the upstate New York technology company most famous for its photographic roots. Dogfish learned from Kodak that heightened levels of acidity and vitamin C in certain beers could make them a processing agent for film. That inspired the brewery to design such a beer. Kodak helped by testing it. Dogfish founder Sam Calagione says he’ll document his summer travels on Super 8 film that will be developed in SuperEIGHT beer and turned into a short film. The beer, made with pear, mango, berries, kiwi, quinoa and salt, is set for US distribution next month.

(Dogfish Head Craft Brewery via AP)

Man returns library book 53 years late

Fair Lawn, N.J. (AP) - A New Jersey man says he has returned an overdue library book - 53 years after he first borrowed the book. Fair Lawn resident Harry Krame says he checked out “The Family Book Of Verse” by Lewis Gannet from his school library when he was 13 and Lyndon Johnson was president. The now 65-year-old Krame found the book recently while cleaning out his basement and felt guilty about keeping it overdue for all those years. Memorial Middle School Vice Principal Dominick Tarquinio says a late fee at today’s rate would be about $2,000, but says the district will let it slide. School librarian Susan Murray says she plans to use the book for a display to teach students about returning books.

HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]

May 4, 2019 - May 12, 2019

April 27, 2019 - May 3, 2019

Friday April 19, 2019 - April 25, 2019

Friday April 12, 2019 - April 18, 2019

Friday April 5, 2019 - April 11, 2019