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Odds & Ends  The Associated Press

November 24, 2018 - November 30, 2018

Identical twin California sisters
give birth 2 hours apart

Fresno, Calif. (AP) - Identical twins have given birth about two hours apart from each other. The Fresno Bee reports that BaoKou Yang went into labor first on Sunday, November 4. Shortly after, her sister BaoNhia Yang told her she was experiencing pain and “might be in labor with you.” BaoKou gave birth at 6:59 p.m. Sunday. Her sister then delivered at 8:48 p.m. Both gave birth to daughters who almost were the same weight. The identical twins are from a family of 14 children and say they were inseparable growing up in Fresno. The sisters had bet on who would give first but say they never thought it would be so close, since their due dates were two days apart. They say they’re excited that their babies will share a birthday just like them.

Twins from different parties get
different election outcomes

Kentwood, Mich. (AP) - Twin sisters who represented different parties when they ran for seats on the same western Michigan county board will not be working side-by-side. Monica Sparks, a Democrat, and her Republican sister, Jessica Ann Tyson, each won their party’s nomination for the Kent County Board of Commissioners in August during the Michigan primary election. They ran in different Grand Rapids-area districts for the seats. Unofficial results show Sparks was the top vote-getter Tuesday for her seat, while Tyson finished second in her district. That means Sparks will serve on the board while her sister won’t. Sparks has said she decided to run for office when her sister declared her candidacy. They’ve said they were adopted into a family that taught them to pay attention to government and public affairs.

Officers catch huge lizard that
terrified Florida neighbors

Davie, Fla. (AP) - Florida authorities have caught a huge lizard that has terrified residents of a suburban Miami neighborhood for months. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission said Thursday the Asian water monitor lizard measures more than 8 feet (2.5 meters) long. The lizard is an escaped pet. It was first reported loose in August in a Davie neighborhood. Residents said it lurked in their backyards and scratched at their patio doors. Wildlife officers and Davie police officers caught it Tuesday after getting a tip from a resident who said the lizard frequently appeared on his property around midday. A wildlife commission statement says the lizard will be returned to its owner, who received a criminal citation for its escape. Owners must have cages to keep these lizards as pets. It’s illegal to release nonnative species in Florida.

Who steals portable toilets? German court renders verdict

(Eric Suarez/Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission via AP)

Berlin (AP) - The portable toilets kept on disappearing - and now a German company knows why. Two men in Germany have been convicted of stealing more than 100 portable toilets. The dpa news agency reported that Duesseldorf district court delivered its verdict Tuesday, giving a 40-year-old man a 10-month suspended sentence and a 28-year-old ex-colleague six months. Both men worked for a waste disposal company from whose premises the toilets - worth nearly 70,000 euros ($79,700) in all - gradually disappeared, a loss that was only discovered a few months later. The men admitted having sold the toilets to a company in the Netherlands via a go-between. Only three of the missing toilets have resurfaced. The defendants lost their jobs.

November 17, 2018 - November 23, 2018

(Mark Graves/The Oregonian via AP)

100s of Oregon ‘witches’ paddle
down river, minus the brooms

Portland, Ore. (AP) - Hundreds of “witches” traded in broomsticks for paddles in Oregon during the last weekend before Halloween. The costumed coven paddled six miles (10 kilometers) on boards Saturday along the Willamette River, which divides the city of Portland. The Oregonian/OregonLive reported that the paddleboard event started two years ago with a handful of participants but now attracts hundreds. Participants donated packages of socks, underwear and T-shirts to a local nonprofit group before they started paddling. Spectators who were caught off guard by the witches watched from the shoreline.

Police: Men arrested in pumpkin
smashing crime spree

Grants Pass, Ore. (AP) - Police in the southern Oregon town of Grants Pass have arrested two men suspected in a pumpkin-powered crime spree, ending weeks of incidents of smashed gourds and broken car windows. The Oregonian/OregonLive reports Jacob Solomon and Adrian Ochoa, both 19, face multiple counts of criminal mischief in connection with at least 50 vehicles vandalized and damaged between Oct. 7 and 23, authorities said. Police say Solomon and Ochoa drove around town at night snatching pumpkins from outdoor supermarket displays which they would hurl through car windows. Lt. Misty English says damages reported by victims are at about $30,000 and continue to climb. Police say they were helped in finding the suspects because they carried out the alleged vandalism in an easily-recognizable gold Buick with a large dent in one side. It wasn’t immediately known if the men had lawyers.

Python presents slithery situation
at Texas Goodwill store

Fort Worth, Texas (AP) - A Goodwill worker collecting clothes and other items at a Texas sorting center was surprised to find an albino python clinging to the side of a bin. The python was huddled in a pile of clothes when the worker discovered it Thursday at the center in Fort Worth. Manager James Murphy says it’s not clear if the snake slithered away from its owner and was accidentally dropped off or if its donation was intentional. The python had a serpentine journey: It arrived at one of nearly 40 Goodwill donation drop-offs in the area before being transported to the Fort Worth sorting center. Goodwill staffers will care for the python until the owner claims it or a permanent home is found.

Look what we found: Tiny female
lion cub in French garage

Paris (AP) - France’s customs agency says it’s made an extremely surprising discovery in a garage in Marseille: a lion cub. Marseille’s customs brigade found a small female lioness inside a cage Wednesday that weighed just “a few kilograms.” Experts say she’s 1 to 2 months old and has not been weened. The agency said a man who was placed in detention said he acquired the cub from some people in “a building” in the southern French city who said they didn’t know how to look after a wild cat and gave the animal up. The custom agency says the feline was immediately handed over to France’s animal protection group for specialized care. In January 2007, two lion cubs were discovered by Montpellier customs before being given to the Marseille Zoo.


(Douane Francaise via AP)

November 10, 2018 - November 16, 2018

(Blackpool Police via AP)

UK police hunt shoplifter
who looks like David Schwimmer

London (AP) - British police are hunting a shoplifter who bears a striking resemblance to Ross Geller, the character played by David Schwimmer on the TV show “Friends.” Facebook users noticed the similarity when police posted surveillance-camera footage of a man carrying a carton of cans from a restaurant in Blackpool, northwest England. The actor responded with a Twitter video that showed him scuttling furtively through a convenience store clutching a carton of beer. Schwimmer wrote: “Officers, I swear it wasn’t me. As you can see, I was in New York.” He wished police well with the investigation. Lancashire Police later confirmed that “David Schwimmer was in America on this date.” Britain’s Daily Star newspaper ran a story about Schwimmer’s lookalike under the headline “I’ll Beer There for You,” a play on lyrics from the “Friends” theme.

Putin’s ex-bodyguard rejects TV debate after duel challenge

Moscow (AP) - President Vladimir Putin’s former bodyguard has rejected an opposition leader’s invitation for a television debate after challenging him to a duel. Gen. Viktor Zolotov, chief of Russia’s National Guard and Putin’s long-time bodyguard, recorded a rare video address to opposition leader Alexei Navalny last month, challenging him to a duel over his investigation into corruption at the National Guard. Navalny, who was released Sunday after spending 50 days in jail for an unsanctioned protest, put out a video Thursday, reiterating his claims and inviting Zolotov to a TV debate. Zolotov told Russian news agencies on Friday that he had challenged Navalny to an actual duel and that he does not want a public discussion with him. Navalny’s video got over 2.6 million views in less than a day.

Authorities nab suspected
serial diaper dumper

Franklin, N.J. (AP) - Authorities say they’ve captured a man suspected of dumping his grandson’s soiled diapers along several New Jersey roadways over the past year. Franklin Township police say an officer acting on a hunch spotted 68-year-old William Friedman leaving a load of diapers in the area of Routes 47 and 40 around 3:15 a.m. Sunday. He was taken into custody after a traffic stop. Friedman allegedly told police the diapers came from his grandson, adding that leaving them around town without getting caught “almost became a game.” Authorities say a motorcyclist crashed in June after running over a diaper Friedman had allegedly dropped. The motorcyclist suffered minor injuries and his bike was totaled. Friedman has been charged with interference with transportation. He faces up to $1,000 in fines.

A hot dog? Firefighters rescue
pet stuck in heating duct

West Springfield, Va. (AP) - It wasn’t a cat in a tree, but a dog in a heating duct that took firefighters to a home in Virginia. The Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department arrived Friday night to find the small dog trapped in the HVAC system. Video shows firefighter Mark Williams cutting a hole in the basement ceiling to retrieve the dog. The department says it was a “happy and pawsitive outcome fur all!”

‘French Spiderman’ barred
from climbing UK buildings

London (AP) - French urban climber Alain Robert has been banned from climbing any building in Britain after scaling one of London’s tallest skyscrapers without ropes - and without permission. Robert climbed the 662-foot (202-meter) Heron Tower on Thursday as police cordoned off the building, closed roads and ushered spectators away. He was arrested after the climb and appeared in a London court on Friday. Robert pleaded guilty to causing a public nuisance and received a 20-week suspended sentence and a 5,500 pound ($7,000) fine. He was also barred from climbing all buildings in Britain “until further notice.” The 56-year-old daredevil, known as “the French Spiderman,” has climbed many of the world’s tallest structures. Before Thursday’s climb, he told reporters “I fully feel alive when my life is at stake.”

November 3, 2018 - November 9, 2018

(U.S. Customs and Border Protection via AP)

Doggy bag: Beagle intercepts roast pig at Atlanta airport

Atlanta (AP) - A passenger traveling from Ecuador was relieved of leftovers when an intrepid beagle found a roasted pig's head in baggage at the world's busiest airport. The U.S. Customs and Border Protection says the Agriculture Detector dog named Hardy alerted to the baggage at Atlanta's Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport on Oct. 11. CBP agriculture specialists then discovered a 2-pound (1-kilogram) cooked pig's head, which was seized and destroyed. The agency says pork and pork products from other continents are not allowed into the United States in an effort to avoid introducing foot and mouth disease, classical swine fever and other animal diseases. CBP Area Port Director Carey Davis hailed Hardy's work as illustrating "the tremendous expertise of our four-legged K-9 partners in protecting the United States."


Good Samaritan driver revives squirrel after car scare

 Brooklyn Park, Minn. (AP) - A motionless squirrel apparently stunned by a passing car has been revived by the driver who performed chest compressions beside a Minnesota road. Police officers on patrol in the Minneapolis suburb of Brooklyn Park thought the man might be performing CPR. In police video posted to the department Facebook page, the man tells the officers he swerved to avoid the animal and didn't think he struck it. The squirrel was not bleeding and the man says if he had hit it "he would've popped." The man flipped the squirrel onto its belly and as he strokes its back, the animal starts to come around. The squirrel eventually darts away and an officer declares: "There he goes! You saved his life, dude!"


Cattle roundup over: Last cow caught weeks after truck crash

 Atlanta (AP) - Officials say a cow that hoofed it for two weeks on the lam after a livestock truck overturned on a busy interstate junction north of Atlanta has been caught. News outlets report 89 cows initially escaped when the tractor-trailer wrecked before dawn on Oct. 1 on a cloverleaf linking Interstate 75 with Interstate 285. Eleven cows died in the crash. The Georgia Department of Transportation's metro Atlanta district tweeted a photo of the runaway cow standing in some woods Monday morning. Department spokeswoman Natalie Dale says it was safely captured by the afternoon. Officials had said they called in real cowboys to round up the escaped cattle Oct. 1, closing some roads as police dealt with four wrecks caused by the wandering animals. No one was hurt in those accidents.


Nacho Cheese or Cool Ranch? Doritos lure rogue pig back home

Highland, Calif. (AP) - Deputies in California have used Doritos to lure a pig "the size of a mini horse" back home. The pig was running around a neighborhood when the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Office received the call Saturday. One of the deputies had Doritos in her lunch bag. Video shows the deputy leaving a trail of the chips, which the pig followed. Deputies had responded to previous calls about the pig and knew where to take him. He was returned to his pen, and deputies secured the gate.

 (Photo: San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department via AP)

HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]

November 24, 2018 - November 30, 2018

November 17, 2018 - November 23, 2018

November 10, 2018 - November 16, 2018

November 3, 2018 - November 9, 2018