Odd News Roundup
May 26, 2014 11:45 AM | 2415 views | 0 0 comments | 10 10 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Lake Oswego worker stuck to floor sues contractor

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — A worker who says he strained himself when he was accidentally glued to the floor at a Lake Oswego remodeling job is suing the general contractor.

Another subcontractor had removed the carpet but not the glue at the office building in June 2012 and Buckley R. Purdy says he strained both knees and his hip getting out of the sticky situation.

The Oregonian reports Purdy is seeking nearly $1 million in the lawsuit filed this week in Multnomah County Circuit Court.

Information from: The Oregonian, http://www.oregonlive.com 

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press.

Students nabbed for releasing crickets in school

BRIDGEVILLE, Pa. (AP) — Several students will be disciplined for releasing hundreds of crickets in a western Pennsylvania high school as a senior prank.

Chartiers Valley School District tells KDKA-TV that the students involved in Thursday's prank at the high school in Bridgeville have been identified and will be disciplined. The district spokeswoman, Kara Droney, didn't say what that would entail.

School officials aren't saying how many Chartiers Valley High School seniors were involved, though the television station says it was about six.

School janitors and teachers were enlisted to help round up the bugs. Some of the prank was caught on school surveillance cameras.

Information from: KDKA-TV, http://www.kdka.com 

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press.

Florida man accused of stealing grave markers

DELAND, Fla. (AP) — A Florida man is accused of stealing grave markers from his employer and selling them as scrap metal.

The Volusia County Sheriff's Office arrested 31-year-old Daniel Monahan on Thursday. He faces multiple counts of dealing in stolen property.

The owner of Volusia Monuments says that among the stolen items are yellow brass markers with names and birth and death dates. He says they went missing over the past two months, but there was no sign of a break-in. Deputies inquired about his employees and learned Monahan was the only one.

Investigators then checked metal recycling business and learned that Monahan produced a fake letter from his employer giving him permission to sell the items. He earned more than $1,500. Investigators say he told them he used it to support a prescription pill addiction.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press.

'Please pull your fire alarm' likely a prank call

BELLINGHAM, Wash. (AP) — Bellingham police and firefighters are asking businesses not to pull the fire alarm just because someone claiming to be from a security company calls and says it has to be activated for a repair.

The Bellingham Herald reports multiple false alarms since Sunday because of the prank.

It caused water damage at one business when sprinklers activated.

Information from: The Bellingham Herald, http://www.bellinghamherald.com 

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press.

Ellensburg High School grads want to decorate caps

ELLENSBURG, Wash. (AP) — Some students at Ellensburg High School are circulating a petition asking administrators to allow them to decorate their mortar board caps at graduation.

The Daily Record reports they also demonstrated recently, carrying signs that said "Lift the EHS cap decorating ban," and "Honk if you support creativity."

Principal Jeff Ellersick says high school graduation is a ceremony "like a wedding or baptism situation" and he doesn't want anything to draw attention from the recognition.

Ellensburg students who show up in a decorated cap at the June 6 graduation will have their diplomas held until they swap for a clean cap.

Information from: Daily Record, http://www.kvnews.com 

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press.

Washington driver explains why not wearing pants

BREMERTON, Wash. (AP) — A 24-year-old Bremerton man told a Washington State trooper he was not wearing pants because he had recently received a body wax.

After the "manzilian" or Brazilian hair removal for men, he said his jeans irritated his skin so he was driving in his underwear.

The Kitsap Sun reports a witness saw the man exposing himself Wednesday. He was arrested on suspicion of indecent exposure.

Information from: Kitsap Sun, http://www.kitsapsun.com/ 

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press.

Surprise delivery - baby raccoons - at New York agency

By Jim Fitzgerald, Associated Press

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. (AP) — Someone left five well-fed baby raccoons on the doorstep of the Westchester County Health Department Friday morning, and the department said that person should call immediately to be assessed for the possibility of rabies.

The month-old raccoons were delivered to the department's office in Mount Kisco in a cage with bottles of milk, blankets and toys, the department said.

"They appear to have been well cared for and nurtured, which means that there was direct contact between these raccoons and the person or people who were caring for them," said Dr. Sherlita Amler, the county health commissioner. "That's why it's important that we talk to the individual or individuals who left them to determine if they may have been potentially exposed to rabies."

Raccoons are among the most common carriers of rabies, a disease that is fatal if not quickly treated.

Department spokeswoman Caren Halbfinger said if the raccoons' caretaker comes forward, he or she will be asked about any bites or scratches. Officials also want to know if the raccoons' mother was sick.

That would help determine whether the animals must be tested for rabies, which can only be done by killing them, and if any people need treatment.

The raccoons were placed with a certified wildlife rehabilitator who will watch them for signs of the disease.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press.

Python billed as New York City's biggest snake dies at zoo

NEW YORK (AP) — A 23-foot-long, 300-pound python that zoo officials call the biggest snake in New York City has died.

The Staten Island Advance reported Friday evening that Fantasia the snake died at the Staten Island Zoo on May 13.

The 20-year-old albino Burmese python had been moved in February from the Brooklyn Children's Museum to the zoo because of her size and age. The breed has a life expectancy of about 25.

The zoo says the snake showed no sign of distress or disease before her death.

Zoo spokesman Brian Morris says Fantasia became popular with visitors as soon as she arrived. Morris says the zoo was happy to make a home for her in her final months.

The snake had been at the Brooklyn Children Museum since 1998.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press.

Naked man playing violin at courthouse jailed

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — A naked man playing violin in front of a downtown Portland courthouse Saturday refused to walk to a squad car and had to be carried by police.

Police say they aren't sure of the man's identity. He told them his name is Matthew T. Mglej and that he is 25 years old.

The brand of the violin was unknown on Saturday morning.

The man was jailed under the Portland city code forbidding indecent exposure.

Police say they warned the man numerous times about his "lack of attire," but he refused to dress himself or leave public view.

City police refrain from enforcing the code during Portland's World Naked Bike Ride as long as participants keep to the designated route. The event draws about 8,000 riders each June.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press.

Australian senator produces fake bomb at hearing

By Rod McGuirk, Associated Press

CANBERRA, Australia (AP) — An Australian senator startled his colleagues by producing a fake pipe bomb during a committee hearing on Monday.

Sen. Bill Heffernan, who represents the ruling Liberal Party, was making a point about a relaxation of security at Parliament House.

The 71-year-old wheat farmer said he had "brought this through security: a pipe bomb." From a plastic shopping bag, he took out what looked like a pipe bomb and several sticks of dynamite taped together, as he explained how he used to blast tree stumps on a farm.

Heffernan is a member of the Finance and Public Administration Legislation Committee, which at the time was questioning Australian Federal Police Commissioner Tony Negus about routine police and security issues.

Negus agreed with Heffernan that there was nothing to stop someone bringing explosive ingredients into the building through security.

"Under the current arrangements, that is a risk, yes," Negus said.

Negus later told the committee that Heffernan had warned him that he would produce the fake bomb.

"I was satisfied that it was inert," Negus said. But senators had not been warned.

"I just hope you are not doing anything illegal to which we are accessories," committee chairman Ian Macdonald told Heffernan during his demonstration.

Before last week, virtually everyone who worked in Parliament House had to go through an airport-style metal detector and have their bags x-rayed.

Now the vast majority are not screened. Journalists, diplomats and some contractors are among the higher-risk minority who continue to be screened.

Senate President John Hogg said the security relaxation was partly due to budget cuts.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press.

Funeral to be held for decrepit Philadelphia home

By Kathy Matheson, Associated Press

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — A rundown row house in the impoverished Mantua section of Philadelphia had a colorful, centurylong record of occupancy before its last longtime residents died and it became a symbol of urban blight.

Now, the boarded-up structure is getting quite the send-off.

Hymns and eulogies will mark the last moments of the Melon Street residence before it's knocked down Saturday. A hearse-like dumpster will carry the debris down the block, trailed by a procession of drill teams, bands and local residents. A community meal will follow.

Organizers randomly chose the building for a cultural project called "Funeral for a Home," which aims to honor neighborhood history in a city where officials say about 600 houses are torn down each year and 25,000 others sit vacant.

Wait, they're doing what? For a house?

That was the initial reaction from a local pastor, neighbors and others first approached with the idea by Robert Blackson, an administrator at Temple University's Tyler School of Art.

But all eventually signed on to the symbolic gesture, which Blackson said also could resonate in places like St. Louis, Buffalo and Detroit — other cities whose once vibrant landscapes have been transformed by abandoned eyesores.

"When you see these blighted homes, you forget that they were a thriving part of the community at one point," Blackson said.

The festive nature of the "home-going" service — as opposed to a somber rite — is designed to reflect more on the life of the Philadelphia row house than on its death, he said.

It's unclear when the two-bedroom home was built, though the address has been consistently occupied since at least 1900, according to census and city records examined by organizers.

Researchers used the house to trace the arc of Mantua's population from mostly Irish-Americans in the early 1900s to a mix that included Russian Jews by the 1920s and an influx of blacks from the South over the next couple of decades.

The block was solidly African-American when Louisiana native Leona Richardson bought the house in 1946, raising her only son, Roger, there while working as a department store seamstress.

Fred Stokes, 63, a neighbor who grew up with Roger and still lives on the block, recalled the mother and son as good people. The street was a family oriented community that was "full of life," Stokes said.

But by the time Leona Richardson died in 2002, Mantua had become one of the city's poorest and most dangerous areas. Roger died in 2009; family members sold the property not long after. The house has been unoccupied for months, surrounded by vacant lots.

Leona Richardson's niece, Annie Hunt of Newark, Ohio, had never visited the house until she handled its sale. At first, she couldn't understand why Blackson wanted to commemorate the forlorn property with a funeral.

"I had trouble wrapping my brain around it, I really did," said Hunt, who now plans to attend the service as a way to honor her aunt. "I had never heard of such a thing."

Joe Schilling, who leads the Sustainable Communities Initiative at Virginia Tech's Metropolitan Institute, said a funeral "could be very cathartic" for longtime Mantua residents grappling with how the neighborhood has changed and hoping for better things to come.

"Demolishing, in many cases, is the right thing to do," said Schilling. "By celebrating the history and legacy of this building, it's letting go in a much more humane way."

In the end, there is also the promise of resurrection. The developer that purchased the house for $15,000 in 2012 — and gave permission for the funeral and demolition — plans to build affordable housing on the site.

Online: www.funeralforahome.org 

Follow Kathy Matheson at www.twitter.com/kmatheson 

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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