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Update September 2017

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Update by Natrakorn Paewsoongnern
Odds & Ends  The Associated Press

Saturday September 30 - October 6, 2017

(Kevin Scott Ramos/Guinness World Records 2018 via AP)

Guinness records include long-tailed cat, old bodybuilder

New York (AP) - A long-tailed cat, an octogenarian bodybuilder and a 5-inch-long eyelash are included in the latest edition of Guinness World Records. The 2018 version of the chronicle of extraordinary feats and features was released Thursday. The honorees include a Silver Maine Coon cat from Ferndale, Michigan, named Cygnus that boasts a tail that stretches more than 17 inches (46 centimeters). It set the world record for longest tail on a domestic cat. A Chinese woman has set the record for world’s longest eyelash, at nearly 5 inches (12 centimeters). An 83-year-old great-grandfather from Los Angeles has been named the world’s oldest bodybuilder. This is the 63rd edition of the Guinness book.

Koala survives 10-mile Australia trip in wheel arch

(Metropolitan Fire Service via AP)

Adelaide, Australia (AP) - For a stowaway who made a 16-kilometer (10-mile) journey squeezed in a wheel arch, a koala was lucky to escape with just scratches. The driver of the four-wheel vehicle was unaware of the extra passenger until they arrived at their destination in the outskirts of Adelaide, Australia, and he heard some unusual cries. After seeing the koala in the wheel arch, he immediately called animal rescuers, who removed the wheel and eventually extricated the frightened but very lucky animal. “You think you’ve seen it all. No, I’ve never seen anything like that and it’s absolutely incredible,” said Fauna Rescue worker, Jane Brister. The koala suffered superficial injuries and was covered in grease from under the car. “She was crying a little bit, she was a little bit shaken, she was certainly in shock but I rushed her straight to the vet,” Brister said. The koala was dubbed Kelli, after one of the firefighters who rescued her. “Kelli’s one of our fine station officers and she led the rescue crew that day and she was quite excited to have such a good outcome,” said Dave Juniper of the South Australian Metropolitan Fire Service. After being cleaned up and monitored for a week, it was released back into the bush on Saturday. “After everything she’s been through, she’s had so much stress and trauma, to see her just toddle off and up the tree, and currently she’s found the biggest fork in the tree, she’s snuggled up, she’s fast asleep,” Brister said. Rescue workers say it’s not unusual for koalas to seek shelter in unusual places.

Pathologist suspected of drunken driving toted human organs

Indianapolis (AP) - Authorities in central Indiana say a pathologist arrested on suspicion of drunken driving had human organs and tissues in his pickup truck when he was pulled over along a rural highway. Seventy-five-year-old Elmo Griggs was arrested Tuesday in the Morgan County town of Brooklyn after another motorist reported a truck driving erratically along Indiana 67 about 10 miles (16 kilometers) southwest of Indianapolis. Griggs was released from jail after posting bail. Online court records don’t list an attorney for him. Morgan County Coroner Annette Rohlman says Griggs had several totes inside the truck and in its bed that contained brain and liver samples and internal organs for his private autopsy practice. She says it’s not surprising that a pathologist would be transporting such samples.

Saturday September 23 - September 29, 2017

Texas woman jailed after slipping cuffs, stealing police SUV

Lufkin, Texas (AP) - A Texas woman is being held on several charges after she slipped her handcuffs, stole a police SUV and then led officers on a pursuit that reached speeds of nearly 100 mph (160 kph). Thirty-three-year-old Toscha Sponsler was being held Thursday in the Angelina County jail on charges that include evading arrest. Authorities say Sponsler had been detained Saturday on suspicion of shoplifting and was in the back of the SUV when she managed to slip her hand through one of the cuffs. Video released Tuesday by Lufkin police show her then squeezing through a partition to reach the front seat. A chase went on for about 20 miles (30 kilometers) before a state trooper managed to spin her out. Online jail records don’t indicate whether she has an attorney.

Maine’s ‘Passy Pete’ lobster predicts 6 more weeks of summer

(Zach Blanchard/WLBZ via AP)

Belfast, Maine (AP) - A group of Mainers says Passy Pete the Lobster has predicted six more weeks of summer at an annual ceremony. The crustacean has been fished out of the Passagassawakeag River for the past three years in a tradition modeled after famed groundhog Punxsutawney Phil’s winter prediction in Pennsylvania. David Crabiel and his business partner, David Brassbridge, thought up the eccentric ceremony as a way to have some fun. Each year, a group of barons flank Passy Pete as he picks a scroll to determine whether Maine will see an extended summer or be greeted by winter. This year’s ceremony took place Monday. Crabiel tells WLBZ-TV ( Pete’s been right the past two years. Brassbridge says they hope to carry on the tradition.

Teen takes credit for red ‘It’ balloons tied to sewer grates

Lititz, Pa. (AP) - A girl says she and her friends are behind the red balloons found tied to sewer grates in a small Pennsylvania town, not a homicidal clown. Seventeen-year-old Peyton Reiff tells ( ) the girls were trying to scare their friends in Lititz after seeing a trailer for the upcoming movie “It.” A red balloon is the calling card of Pennywise, the sewer-dwelling, child-eating clown in Stephen King’s novel-turned-movie. Reiff says the teens were surprised at how much attention the prank got after the local police made a playful post on Facebook, saying they were “completely terrified” to remove the balloons. Reiff says they will meet with the department for a “funny follow up,” but says they are not being punished.

Complaints about festival’s cold pizza prompt state inquiry

New York (AP) - Some New York City foodies say a neighborhood pizza festival has left them with a bad taste in their mouths. Prosecutors are looking into the New York City Pizza Festival after attendees fumed they paid $75 each to eat cold slivers of pizza in a parking lot in Brooklyn on Saturday. The festival was promoted as a celebration of pizza. Attendees say on Facebook they instead got cold slices of pizza “smaller than a sample size,” served with glasses of warm wine. WNBC-TV reports Democratic state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman (SHNEYE’-dur-muhn) is urging attendees to file complaints on his website. A spokesman says prosecutors opened an investigation Monday. Festival organizer Ishmael Osekre says event producer Hangry Garden delayed the event. The event producer contends it was misled by the organizer and wasn’t paid.

World’s highest sandcastle built
in German city

Berlin (AP) - The world’s highest sandcastle is now standing 16.68 meters (54.72 feet) tall in the German city of Duisburg. A German travel operator organized the construction of the mammoth sandcastle, bringing in 3,500 tons of sand over the past 3 weeks to the site at a former steelworks in the inland city. News agency dpa reported that Jack Brockbank, a representative of Guinness World Records, certified the record on Friday. It takes the title from a 14.84-meter (48.69-foot) sandcastle built early this year in India. The new sandcastle is decorated with sand models of tourist attractions such as Athens’ Acropolis, Barcelona’s Sagrada Familia and the Leaning Tower of Pisa.

(Marcel Kusch/dpa via AP)

Saturday August 19 - August 25, 2017

Lottery retires machine that printed record $758.7M ticket

Chicopee, Mass. (AP) - Lottery ticket buyers hoping to use the same Massachusetts machine as the recent $758.7 million Powerball jackpot winner are out of luck. The Massachusetts State Lottery has retired the machine that printed the winning ticket belonging to Mavis Wanczyk (WAHN’-zihk). The Powerball jackpot she claimed last week is the largest grand prize won by a lottery ticket in U.S. history. State lottery spokesman Christian Teja tells The Boston Globe the machine was removed from a convenience store in Chicopee (CHIH’-kuh-pee) on Saturday and was sent to the lottery’s Springfield office for maintenance. He says there is an appetite to preserve “this piece of lottery history.” He says some interesting ideas have been proposed. It hasn’t been determined where the machine will go next.

Police: 2 woman dressed as nuns try to rob Pennsylvania bank

(Federal Bureau of Investigation via AP)

Tannersville, Pa. (AP) - Police say two women dressed as nuns attempted to rob a bank in Pennsylvania’s Poconos. Authorities say the women walked into Citizens Bank near Tannersville on Monday and one brandished a handgun, demanding money from a teller. But they left without taking anything. Each woman was wearing a black nun’s habit and veil. One woman also was wearing sunglasses. The FBI is investigating and posted bank surveillance photos on Twitter.

Professors get $300,000 grant for digital fake-news detector

University Park, Pa. (AP) - Two Penn State professors have received $300,000 from the National Science Foundation to develop technology that will enable digital devices to weed out fake news. The university says information sciences and technology professor Dongwon Lee and communications professor S. Shyam Sundar are working on the project. Lee says fake news “has been around for decades” but has been “exacerbated” on the internet and social media platforms. The professors plan to investigate “characteristic indicators of fake news” and develop complex formulas that will enable digital devices to recognize those indicators and purge stories that contain them. Sundar has researched the psychology of online news consumption for two decades. The Associated Press and other media outlets have made efforts to point out fake news, such as a recent social media headline claiming Hillary Clinton lost the popular vote.

Yellow lobster joins Boston aquarium’s colorful collection

(Emily Bauernfeind/New England Aquarium via AP)

Boston (AP) - A rare yellow lobster has made its debut at the New England Aquarium, posing for a photo op with fellow oddly colored crustaceans. The lobster was donated to the Boston aquarium by a Salem seafood company. They marked its arrival by showing it off with other lobsters in unusual shades, including blue and orange, and one they call the Halloween lobster - black on one side and orange on the other. The yellow lobster will not be put on exhibit for about a month as it undergoes quarantine. The aquarium says the incidence of yellow lobsters in the wild is estimated to be about 1 in 30 million.

Yacht’s distress call leads to big Greek marijuana bust

Athens, Greece (AP) - A rescue operation in the eastern Aegean Sea has turned into a big marijuana bust. A Greek coast guard statement says a Turkish-flagged wooden sailboat that issued a distress call near the island of Nisyros was found to be carrying around 700 kilograms (1,500 pounds) of marijuana. The three Turkish nationals on board were arrested. The yacht’s crew radioed for help late Thursday, citing engine failure. Greek authorities sent a coast guard launch to look for the vessel. A freighter that had been diverted to help located the sailboat. The statement says the yacht was towed to Nisyros, where a search early Friday turned up the marijuana cargo. It was not immediately clear where the yacht had been heading.

Saturday September 16 - September 22, 2017

Pennsylvania couple sees image of Jesus in baby’s sonogram

Chambersburg, Pa. (AP) - A Pennsylvania couple says Jesus showed up in their daughter’s sonogram picture, easing their concerns after two other children were born with birth defects. Alicia Zeek and Zach Smith tell WPMT-TV ( they’re not especially religious. But they’re convinced the image to the left of their daughter’s head is a bearded Christ. Smith calls the image of Jesus “distinct” and says, “There’s another face looking at my daughter.” Zeek’s first two children had problems at birth. A daughter was born with two thumbs on one hand. Her son was born with a cleft palate after a difficult delivery in which she and the baby almost died.

Philadelphia Eagles fan gets
last laugh with obituary

Port Republic, N.J. (AP) - A New Jersey man took a parting shot at the Philadelphia Eagles in his obituary. Jeffrey Riegel, 56, died last Friday. Before his death, the Port Republic, New Jersey, man promised friends a funny message in his obituary. The longtime Eagles fan’s obituary asked for Riegel “to have 8 Philadelphia Eagles as pall bearers so the Eagles can let him down one last time.” Riegel was a passionate Eagles fan who owned season tickets for more than 30 years. Sadly, the Eagles never won a Super Bowl during his lifetime. It was not always an easy team to love, his wife, Donna Lee Riegel, said. She sometimes suggested he pay allegiance to a different team. According to her, “I just can’t” was his response. Riegel’s friend, Lou Jiacopello, tells the Press of Atlantic City he couldn’t help but laugh at his friend’s humor. Eight friends wearing Eagles jerseys were to lay Riegel to rest on Thursday at St. Paul’s United Methodist Church’s cemetery in Port Republic. Riegel did get to see the Eagles win one last time before his death, Donna Lee Riegel said. He saw last Thursday’s 20-16 preseason victory over the Buffalo Bills. “He got to see them go out on a win,” his wife said, suggesting that may have been what he needed to make peace with death. A spokesperson for the Eagles declined to comment about Riegel’s request.

Movie prop money being passed
as real in Pennsylvania town

Aliquippa, Pa. (AP) - Movie prop money is being passed as though it’s real in one western Pennsylvania city. Aliquippa police have posted pictures of a fake $20 bill that was passed at a local business. Although the bill looks convincingly real otherwise, there is one dead giveaway: The words “Motion Picture Use Only” are printed clearly on the front and back of the bill in question. Police haven’t said if they know where the money came from or who passed it. It is not against the law to use real U.S. currency in movies and TV shows. But producers of such shows often use fake bills so they don’t have to concern themselves with theft or loss, especially when large sums of money appear on screen.

German politician’s hipster
bashing greeted with mockery

Berlin (AP) - A German politician is being mocked for going after hipsters. Jens Spahn, a 37-year-old deputy finance minister and member of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservative party, on Thursday accused “elitist hipsters” of trying to isolate themselves from other Germans by only speaking English with each other. Spahn’s condemnation in Die Zeit of bearded young men allegedly hanging out in Berlin’s chic downtown cafes and refusing to mingle with “normal Germans” was greeted with derision on Twitter and other social media. The Green Party tweeted a 1983 photo of their lawmakers, one of them sporting a long, fuzzy beard, sitting in parliament next to former Chancellor Helmut Kohl. The caption - in English - read, “Jens, we looked like hipsters long before you knew you’d hate them.”

Saturday September 2 - September 8, 2017

(Police Osnabrueck via AP)

German police seize thousands of ‘Trump’ ecstasy tablets

Berlin (AP) - German police say they have seized thousands of tablets of the party drug ecstasy in the shape of Donald Trump’s head, a haul with an estimated street value of 39,000 euros ($45,900.) Police in Osnabrueck, in northwestern Germany, say they found the drugs while checking an Austrian-registered car on the A30 highway on Saturday. They say the people in the car, a 51-year-old man and his 17-year-old son, told officers they had been in the Netherlands to buy a vehicle but hadn’t succeeded so were returning home. Officers said they found about 5,000 of the orange, Trump-shaped ecstasy tablets along with a large, but unspecified quantity of cash. A judge on Sunday ordered the father and son kept in custody. The car was seized and towed away.

Driver forced to gun engine
and jump rising drawbridge

Lower Township, N.J. (AP) - A driver was forced to gun his engine and jump a drawbridge that began rising as he crossed it with his family. Terence Naphys, of West Deptford Township, had paid the toll to cross the Middle Thorofare Bridge with three family members in his vehicle on Aug. 1. The bridge links Cape May with the Wildwoods near the Jersey shore. As he was crossing the steel grate, it began to rise 3 to 6 feet (0.9 to 1.8 meters) because a vessel was trying to cross, police said. “My wife said, ‘I think the bridge is opening,’” Terence Naphys told KYW-TV in Philadelphia. “He accelerated, and of course then we landed with a big impact on the concrete on the side,” said Jackie Naphys. Police said the landing caused minor damage to his vehicle. No one was hurt. Authorities said the operator of the bridge was to blame for the scare. “An employee for the Cape May County Bridge Commission stated that a large vessel was approaching the bridge and they had no contact with that vessel due to their radio being down,” police said in their report. The bridge tender told police he activated the bridge’s lights and gates in anticipation that all vehicles would be clear. However, he wasn’t sure because of sun glare. Terence Naphys said he would never cross the bridge again.

Man denies purposely spraying
manure on border patrol car

Montpelier, Vt. (AP) - A man pleaded not guilty Thursday to charges he sprayed liquid manure on a marked U.S. Customs and Border Protection car after confronting an agent about why he wasn’t doing more to arrest people in the country illegally. Mark Johnson, 53, of Alburgh, entered the plea in Vermont Superior Court in North Hero to state charges of disorderly conduct and simple assault of a law enforcement officer with fluids. He declined to comment afterward. Johnson told The Associated Press on Wednesday that his livelihood was hurt by people working on Vermont farms who could be in the country illegally. He said he asked the agent why he wasn’t doing more to arrest people working in the U.S. illegally. Customs and Border Protection says the job of the border patrol is to keep people from entering the country illegally. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement is responsible for enforcing immigration law inside the country. Johnson, who has a long history of minor brushes with the law, said he didn’t know the car was nearby when he turned on his manure spreader. Border Patrol agent Robert Rocheleau said in an affidavit that Johnson sprayed his car after a profanity-laced tirade Aug. 3 in Alburgh, just south of the Canadian border, in which Johnson complained the border patrol wasn’t doing enough to combat illegal immigration. At one point, Johnson “wrapped his arms around himself and yelled ‘Everyone is squeezing me to ... death,’” Rocheleau’s affidavit said. Rocheleau said he expressed sympathy to Johnson and tried to get out of his way. Johnson then got back into his tractor. At first, a “wave of manure” missed the car by a couple of feet, the affidavit said. “While passing by my vehicle Mr. Johnson then engaged the PTO shaft to his trailer and covered my vehicle in cow manure,” the affidavit said. Rocheleau drove to a nearby port of entry where he took photographs of his car and reported the incident to his supervisor. He then washed his car and reported what had happened to the Grand Isle County sheriff’s department, he said.

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



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Saturday September 30 - October 6, 2017

Saturday September 23 - September 29, 2017

Saturday September 16 - September 22, 2017

Saturday September 9 - September 15, 2017

Saturday September 2 - September 8, 2017


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