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Odds & Ends  The Associated Press

September 22, 2018 - September 28, 2018

(Meegan M. Reid/Kitsap Sun via AP)

Bomb technicians detonate mine in Puget Sound

Brownsville, Wash. (AP) - Coast Guard and Navy bomb technicians have detonated what they said appeared to be an unidentified mine floating in Puget Sound between Brownsville Marina and Bainbridge Island. The object was reported at about 2 p.m. Tuesday. The Navy says initial inspection of the moored mine showed it had decades of marine growth. At about 5 p.m., Navy divers secured a long line to the device and began towing it with a small boat. KIRO-TV video showed it was detonated without incident by 8:15 p.m. Authorities had asked residents along the waterfront to stay inside and away from beaches as a precaution. Brownsville is a few miles south of Naval Base Kitsap - Keyport’s torpedo testing range.

School demolition crews unearth
124-year-old time capsule

Swampscott, Mass. (AP) - Construction crews tearing down a former middle school in Massachusetts have found a 124-year-old time capsule. The Daily Item reports crews found the time capsule under one of the front steps of the former Swampscott Middle School. The capsule is dated April 28, 1894, the day the school was dedicated. It contains two newspapers, remnants of military uniforms from the Civil War, a war medal and names of locals who served in the war. Planning Board Chairwoman Angela Ippolito says they were aware the time capsule existed but weren’t sure where it was located. She says the discovery was “quite a thrill.” The items are now heading to the Northeast Document Conservation Center for assessment. Ippolito says they hope to put the items on display at Town Hall.

St. Louis apartment with kitchen-bathroom combo creates stir

St. Louis (AP) - A St. Louis man is the new tenant of a tiny apartment with a unique layout - the kitchen and bathroom are in the same place. Yep. The toilet, bathtub, oven and sink are all in one room. The 200-square-foot (18.5-sq. meter) apartment is in St. Louis’ tony Central West End. The ad and photo for the $525-per-month apartment appeared on several websites and had people flush with excitement. Harold Karabell of S.F. Shannon Real Estate Management says the new tenant loves it. The 111-year-old building originally housed 12 luxury apartments. Karabell says that around the time of the Great Depression, it was remade into 50 small units, the studio the smallest among them. Toilet/kitchen combo aside, Karabell says the apartment has a lot to like, including refinished hardwood floors and new windows.

(S.F. Shannon Real Estate Management LLC via AP)

Venomous rattlesnake found near
Massachusetts go-kart track

Braintree, Mass. (AP) - Police responding to a Massachusetts go-kart track found a venomous snake wrapped around a tree in the parking lot. Braintree police say the timber rattlesnake was discovered Wednesday night near X1 Boston. Experts think the rattlesnake likely came from the nearby 6,000-acre Blue Hills Reservation, which has a known rattlesnake population. Environmental Police officers captured the snake and released it “far, far from Braintree,” back in the reservation. The snake is an endangered species in Massachusetts, and it is illegal to kill one. While a bite from the snake can kill, there have been no reported human fatalities in the state since 1791.

September 15, 2018 - September 21, 2018

Low-number Delaware license
plate auctioned for $410K

Rehoboth, Del. (AP) - Low-numbered Delaware license plates are in demand. Someone paid $410,000 for the plate bearing the number 20 when it went up for auction Sunday at the Rehoboth Beach Convention Center. John Wakefield, of Delaware Tag Traders, tells the Delaware News Journal the price exceeded expectations. He says it surpassed $325,000 spent on a number 14 license plate three years ago. Wakefield says a number like 20 “generates quite a stir and a buzz.” Wakefield likens the license plate auction to baseball cards. He says “it’s a Delaware thing.”

Oregon officer rescues baby deer stuck in fence

(Shawni McLaughlin/Eugene Police Department via AP)

Eugene, Ore. (AP) - An animal welfare officer in Oregon is getting attention after her body-worn camera captured her rescuing a baby deer. The Eugene Police Department on Thursday made public a video and photo of Officer Shawni McLaughlin freeing a terrified fawn that got stuck in a backyard fence. In the video, McLaughlin wraps the fawn’s head in a towel and lifts it from between two narrow fence posts as she gently talks to the deer. The fawn lies on the ground for a few seconds after being freed, apparently not aware it can walk. McLaughlin pets it before it springs up and runs away. An open sore can be seen on the fawn’s left hip.

Large European hornets’
nest removed from car in Ohio

Alliance, Ohio (AP) - European Hornets have been removed after building a large nest in a car in Ohio, in a scene that looked like a horror movie. Travis Watson, who owns The Bee Man, was called into action after the nest was found inside the El Camino on Sunday. Watson tells WJW-TV the queens emerge from hibernation in April and it takes a long time to get workers in the nest. Once the queen starts to only lay eggs the nest starts growing quite rapidly in July. Watson says the hornets aggressively defend the nest and can sting repeatedly. He wore a triple-layer suit and sting-proof gloves while blowing a powder into the nest. He removed the nest and disposed of it because, he says, the hornets do not pollinate like honey bees.

Sprinting naked man leads
LA police on lengthy pursuit

Los Angeles (AP) - A naked man who sprinted with Los Angeles police officers running after him and a police helicopter overhead is in custody after a lengthy chase. The pursuit at dawn Friday captured live by TV news helicopters began after the man abandoned a suspected stolen truck on a freeway east of downtown. Illuminated by a police helicopter spotlight, the man sprinted along dirt footpaths, through a homeless encampment and scaled a fence. Officers closed in as he hid under trees, but the man then ran down an embankment and across several busy freeway connector roads, dodging cars. The man disappeared into a hilly wooded area behind residences but officers caught up with him. He was not immediately identified.

Thief in Mexico tries to steal hearse,
with body inside

Mexico City (AP) - Police in central Mexico said they’ve caught a man who made off with a hearse - complete with a corpse inside. The Tlaquepaque police department says on its Facebook page that the hearse had been readied to take the body of an 80-year-old man from a hospital in neighboring Guadalajara to a funeral home. Police say a 40-year-old man has admitted seeing the keys left in the vehicle and deciding to take it late Friday night. Officers were alerted and they soon spotted the hearse along a highway and detained the suspect, whose name was given only as Annibal Saul N. Police said Saturday he’s been turned over to prosecutors. Both the hearse and the body were recovered.

September 8, 2018 - September 14, 2018

Black bear wandered into hotel that inspired 'The Shining'

Estes Park, Colo. (AP) - A black bear wandered the lobby of the Colorado hotel that inspired Stephen King to write "The Shining." Stanley Hotel Vice President Reed Rowley tells KDVR-TV that 300 guests were sound asleep as the bruin figured out how to open the door and climbed over furniture. A front desk supervisor captured video of the romp. There was no damage, but the furniture got rearranged before the bear walked out of the lower level door. The hotel in Estes Park opened in 1909. It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. King wrote "The Shining" after he and his wife stayed at The Stanley in 1974. The 1980 horror film was not shot there.


Cliff house: Unique Swiss restaurant looks for new tenants


(Steffen Schmidt/Keystone via AP)

Berlin (AP) - One of Switzerland's most picturesque restaurants will soon be looking for a new operator. The Gasthaus Aescher, built into a cliff above a valley in northeastern Switzerland, has been run by the same family since 1987. It gained recognition outside the Alpine nation when it was featured on the cover of a National Geographic book of "destinations of a lifetime" in 2016. Authorities in Appenzell Innerrhoden canton (state) said Monday that the current tenants, Nicole and Bernhard Knechtle-Fritsche, are giving up the lease at the end of the 2018 season. The restaurant opens from May until the beginning of November. 

Coast Guard offering reward for info on buoy bell thieves

Portland, Maine (AP) - The Coast Guard is offering a reward for information about brass gongs and bells that have been stolen from 10 buoys off of Maine's coast. The Coast Guard says nine bells were stolen from Penobscot Bay, and one was stolen off Bailey Island in Harpswell. The bell assembly stolen from the White Bull Gong buoy off Bailey Island weighed 371 pounds. The sounding devices help boats navigate when there is poor visibility, and the Coast Guard says they are most likely being sold to nautical novelty stores or scrap yards. Coast Guard Lt. Matthew Odom previously said the thefts put lives at risk and cost taxpayers. Tampering with navigation aids is a federal crime, punishable by up to $25,000 per day.


Novelty hand grenades found in checked luggage at airport

Newark, N.J. (AP) - Authorities say two suspected hand grenades found in a woman's checked bag at Newark Liberty International Airport were actually novelty bottle openers. Transportation Security Administration officials say the realistic looking replicas were found Tuesday. The woman eventually was allowed to board her flight, but her luggage didn't make it on the plane due to the delay at the screening area. The woman's name and the airline she was flying were not disclosed. Officials say the bottoms of the fake hand grenades are hollowed out so they can be used as bottle openers. They note that the items come with a warning notice that tells travelers not to bring them into airports because they can look real to screeners using X-ray machines to scan luggage.


Mom who hosted elaborate $25k prom send-off accused of fraud

Philadelphia (AP) - A Philadelphia woman who made headlines for an elaborate prom send-off has been charged with Social Security benefits fraud. The U.S. attorney's office in Philadelphia announced charges of wire fraud, theft of government funds and Social Security fraud Tuesday against 44-year-old Saudia Shuler. Prosecutors say that Shuler applied for benefits, describing herself as disabled and unable to work, but continued working - including operating a restaurant - costing the government more than $36,000. Shuler threw a $25,000 Dubai-themed prom party for her son last year. This year, she threw a "Black Panther"-themed prom send-off with an actual panther for neighborhood kids. She said the party cost was in the six figures. Defense attorney Tariq el Shabazz told WPVI-TV Shuler suffered a stroke, was in rehab and couldn't do anything for two-plus years.

September 1, 2018 - September 7, 2018

(Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust via AP)

Heat wave put flamingos in the mood for 1st time in 15 years

London (AP) - A British conservation charity says record-breaking temperatures have encouraged a rare flock of Andean flamingos to lay eggs for the first time since 2003. The Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust says six of the exotic birds laid nine eggs, all of which were infertile. The charity’s reserve in Gloucestershire in southwest England then gave the Andean flamingos eggs from near-relatives, Chilean flamingos, to look after. Mark Roberts, the aviculture manager at the Slimbridge reserve, says “with the Andeans in full parenting mode, we gave them Chilean chicks to bring up as their own. It’s great motivation and enriching for the birds.” The Andeans are some of the oldest animals at the trust’s Slimbridge reserve. Some arrived in the 1960s as adults. The birds are long-lived and can breed into old age.

Colombian city urges a break from sex to fight heat wave

Bogota, Colombia (AP) - Health officials in one Colombian coastal city have a controversial recommendation for residents trying to stay cool during an intense heat wave: Take a break from sex. Santa Marta city health secretary Julio Salas sparked a mix of laughter and disbelief this week when he urged residents of the Caribbean tourist mecca to refrain from sex during the day as part of a list of recommendations, such as staying hydrated and wearing loose clothing to prevent overheating. Sex is considered only a moderate physical activity, as much of a strain on the heart as walking up two flights of stairs, according to the American Heart Association. Temperatures in Santa Marta have soared past 40 degrees Celsius (104 degrees Fahrenheit) and Salas says medical facilities in the city of 600,000 have been overwhelmed with patients complaining of symptoms of heat stroke such as nausea and headaches.

Bear makes an unlikely stop in a liquor store

Bristol, Conn. (AP) - A bear took a stroll into an unlikely snack venue - a Connecticut liquor store. The mid-sized creature lumbered across a parking lot in Bristol Monday afternoon, getting close enough to the entrance of Crazy Bruce’s Liquors to trigger a sensor that automatically opened an outer door. The Hartford Courant reports video from inside shows the bear walking around the foyer while an employee locks an inner door. One unassuming customer also walked into the lobby as an employee unlocked the door and ushered him in. The bear eventually figured out how to leave, and the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection was notified.

Police look into video of man
spanking hippo at LA Zoo

Los Angeles (AP) - Police are investigating after a video shows a man spanking a hippopotamus at the Los Angeles Zoo. The video shows the man crossing a railing last week and sneaking up on two hippos, Rosie and Mara. He smacks Rosie on the rear and her mother lifts her head as the man runs off and raises his arms in gesture of victory. Zoo spokeswoman April Spurlock tells the Los Angeles Times that any unauthorized interaction with an animal is unsafe for the animal and potentially unsafe for the person. Spurlock says state law prohibits entering zoo enclosures. The zoo has posted a “No Trespassing” sign on the exhibit for the first time. Police told the newspaper they’re investigating the case as trespassing because the hippo didn’t appear to be injured.

Mexico City restaurant busted
over protected tarantula tacos

Mexico City (AP) - Fancy a tarantula taco for a cool $27? Not so fast, Mexican authorities say. A Mexico City market restaurant recently put the arachnids on its menu and posted a video on Facebook showing a chef torching one until blackened. The only problem: The Mexican red rump tarantula is a protected species. The federal environmental protection agency said Tuesday it was alerted to the situation via social media and seized four tarantula corpses that were ready to be served up on tortillas. The tarantula tacos were apparently on offer for 500 pesos, or 50 times the price of a basic street taco. The restaurant’s menu also features other creepy-crawlies such as grasshoppers, worms and ant eggs, which have a long tradition in Mexican cuisine, and scorpions, which are less common.

Weekly Update

HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]

September 22, 2018 - September 28, 2018

September 15, 2018 - September 21, 2018

September 8, 2018 - September 14, 2018

September 1, 2018 - September 7, 2018