Odd News Roundup
May 05, 2014 11:30 AM | 713 views | 0 0 comments | 5 5 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Michelle Appel, owner of Fun For Alaska, watches as her pre-school children and others play in a Castle combo bounce house in her backyard on Tuesday, April 29, 2014, in Anchorage, Alaska. (AP Photo/The Anchorage Daily News, Bill Roth)
Michelle Appel, owner of Fun For Alaska, watches as her pre-school children and others play in a Castle combo bounce house in her backyard on Tuesday, April 29, 2014, in Anchorage, Alaska. (AP Photo/The Anchorage Daily News, Bill Roth)
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A girl crosses the street near police vehicles outside of Teaneck High School, where at least 60 students were arrested during an overnight break-in, Thursday, May 1, 2014, in Teaneck, N.J. Officers responded to a burglar alarm at the school around 2:30 a.m. Thursday, found urine in the hallways, petroleum jelly on doorknobs, desks flipped over and balloons throughout the building. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)
A girl crosses the street near police vehicles outside of Teaneck High School, where at least 60 students were arrested during an overnight break-in, Thursday, May 1, 2014, in Teaneck, N.J. Officers responded to a burglar alarm at the school around 2:30 a.m. Thursday, found urine in the hallways, petroleum jelly on doorknobs, desks flipped over and balloons throughout the building. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)
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The James family of Eatontown who found their dog "Reckless" a year and half after losing it during Superstorm Sandy. Here the family poses for a photograph in Neptune. Chuck James, center, with "Reckless" and wife Elicia, left, and children Kelsey, left, Ally, center, and Liam, on knee. (AP Photo/The Asbury Park Press, Mark R. Sullivan)
The James family of Eatontown who found their dog "Reckless" a year and half after losing it during Superstorm Sandy. Here the family poses for a photograph in Neptune. Chuck James, center, with "Reckless" and wife Elicia, left, and children Kelsey, left, Ally, center, and Liam, on knee. (AP Photo/The Asbury Park Press, Mark R. Sullivan)
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This photo provided by the City Of Costa Mesa shows a Big-Headed. This invasive species of big-headed ants has been found in the front yard of a Costa Mesa home, prompting a full canvassing of the neighborhood as agricultural officials work to understand the scope of the problem. The ants aren't considered dangerous, although they're known for aggressively invading homes. (AP Photo/Courtesy Of City Of Costa Mesa)
This photo provided by the City Of Costa Mesa shows a Big-Headed. This invasive species of big-headed ants has been found in the front yard of a Costa Mesa home, prompting a full canvassing of the neighborhood as agricultural officials work to understand the scope of the problem. The ants aren't considered dangerous, although they're known for aggressively invading homes. (AP Photo/Courtesy Of City Of Costa Mesa)
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Police seek thief who stole $500, $1,000 bills

SHARON, Pa. (AP) — Whose picture is on the U.S. $500 bill? How about the $1,000 bill?

Police in one western Pennsylvania city say a burglar would be able to answer those currency trivia questions, because he or she stole one of each bill from a resident.

The high-denomination bills were taken out of circulation in the late 1960s, which is why collectors covet them. They're still worth their face value — and more to collectors if they're in good shape.

Sharon police say a homeowner reported the thefts Saturday. The large bills were part of $10,300 taken from a strong box in the home. Police Chief Mike Menster says there was no forced entry into the home or the box.

For the record, Grover Cleveland is pictured on the $1,000 bill. William McKinley is on the $500 note.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press.


Cops: High driver calls 911 to report hit-and-run

LIVINGSTON, N.Y. (AP) — State police in New York say an Albany man was high on drugs when he called 911 to report that his vehicle had been sideswiped on a highway. Troopers say the other driver was drunk.

Police say 38-year-old Malcolm Sidbury was driving south on the Taconic Parkway in Columbia County on Wednesday when he told dispatchers his car had been hit by another vehicle that didn't stop.

Troopers spotted the vehicles and stopped both. They determined Sidbury was driving while impaired by drugs and that the other driver, 57-year-old Thomas Robbins, of Poughkeepsie, was driving while intoxicated. Police say Robbins' blood-alcohol content was .25 percent, more than three times the legal limit.

Both men were issued tickets. The district attorney's office said it doesn't have attorney information for either man.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press.


Couple holds out hope for missing bounce house

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Michelle Appel is hoping to solve a big Alaska mystery with a colorful past.

She's hoping someone will help her track down the Anchorage customer who rented a king-size, kids-only bounce house from her in 2012 — and then bounced with it.

Appel and her husband, Adam, own For Fun Alaska, an inflatable games rental business. Two years ago, they spent $4,000 for a "Big Big Bouncer," an inflatable structure 25 feet wide, 20 feet deep and about 15 feet high, Appel said, decked out in primary colors.

"It was just a monster," she said Thursday.

It had been used only a couple of times when a woman on June 30, 2012, paid $400 on a credit card to rent the Big Big Bouncer and a generator for one day, the Anchorage Daily News (http://bit.ly/1fWkfEs) reported.

Police reported the bounce house was intended for a boy named Andre who was turning 5 and "partying with 30 of his best friends" at the Dave Rose Park. Along with the Big Big Bounce and the generator, Appel provided a tent, tarps and foam mats.

"I gave her a really good deal on it," she said.

On July 7, two women picked up the structure that deflates down to 3.5 feet in diameter and 5 feet tall. It was due back at 8 p.m., but it never arrived.

The Appels tracked the customer to her home. No one answered the door, and neighbors said the residents had just moved or been evicted. The Appels handed out fliers at the park with a bounce house photo. No luck.

The woman who rented the house canceled her credit card.

"She went to great trouble not to have to deal with this," Michelle Appel said.

The loss of the bounce house, generator and other items was nearly $7,000, she said.

Adam Appel's theory of the disappearance is that the Big Big Bouncer was destroyed at the party, and no one wanted to claim responsibility.

Michelle Appel says it's the only time a customer didn't return a rental since her mother began the business in 1991.

Information from: Anchorage (Alaska) Daily News, http://www.adn.com 

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press.


Schools boss says New Jersey class prank overblown

TEANECK, N.J. (AP) — The head of a New Jersey school district where more than 60 students were arrested after being accused of pulling a senior class prank says their antics were overblown in the media.

Teaneck Superintendent Barbara Pinsak issued a statement Friday saying janitors cleaning Teaneck High School found no evidence to back up initial police reports students had urinated in the hallways.

Teaneck police haven't responded to Pinsak's comments.

Pinsak says there was no damage to school property and the cleanup consisted of removing petroleum jelly from doorknobs, sweeping floors of debris and removing graffiti. She says the district doesn't condone the students' behavior but exaggerated reports of mayhem "misrepresent" their school and community.

Sixty-three high school seniors were charged with burglary and criminal mischief.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press.


Whale washes up in New Jersey, gets graffiti tag

ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. (AP) — A dead Minke whale that washed ashore in New Jersey suffered some further indignity: someone tagged it with graffiti.

The whale, which was roughly 12 to 15 feet long, was discovered Thursday morning below Atlantic City's Central Pier.

Police tell The Press of Atlantic City the purple markings are not gang-related and appear to be Greek letters.

The letters appeared to be Tau Epsilon Phi, a fraternity that has chapters at several area schools, followed by what looked like "94."

Spokesman Jesse Cohen says while it has not been confirmed that Tau Epsilon Phi members were involved, the fraternity considers it a "reprehensible act" contrary to its teachings and is cooperating with authorities.

A state pathologist will try to determine the cause of death.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press.


NYPD baseball team's jerseys stolen in Texas

NEW YORK (AP) — Most thieves would balk at stealing on the NYPD baseball team, but the squad has been forced to cancel a tournament championship game after someone made off with its jerseys, gloves and bats.

The New York Post reports the team comprised of New York City police officers was at a tournament in Texas when about $15,000 worth of gear and equipment was stolen from a team minivan.

Team manager Jose Vasquez tells the Post the police officers spent the morning filling out police reports instead of taking the field.

The self-funded team, New York's Finest Baseball Club, was scheduled to play the Dallas Fire Department.

Information from: New York Post, http://www.nypost.com 

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press.


Family who lost dog during Sandy finds it at pound

EATONTOWN, N.J. (AP) — A New Jersey family whose terrier-pit bull mix escaped from their backyard during Superstorm Sandy went to an animal shelter this week to adopt a new pet and came home with their old dog.

Chuck James tells The Associated Press that his family searched for the brown-and-white dog named Reckless for months after the October 2012 storm before finally giving up hope.

"We reported him missing and called the shelters periodically, just hoping they had him," James said Saturday. "We always kept our hopes up, but eventually it's time to move on."

James said the family had planned in recent weeks to get a new dog as a 10th birthday surprise for their eldest daughter, Ally.

But when the family of five went to the Monmouth County SPCA on Thursday to adopt a new animal, James and his wife approached the first cage and saw a familiar face inside.

"He was a little bigger than I remembered because they had fed him well," James joked. "But then he was laying on my wife's feet, and I knew it was him. ... I was in disbelief. I know this dog is meant to be with our family."

When SPCA officials asked if they could prove the animal was their dog, a friend sent over a picture showing the family with their dog before Sandy hit the Jersey shore.

"We're all so happy to have him back," James said. "Thank God for no-kill shelters because every time they kill an animal, it's somebody's friend who might be lost. Thank God they didn't put him down because this would have been a different story."

SPCA officials say Reckless was picked up as a stray and has now been microchipped.

The family is living in a hotel while their storm-damaged Keansburg home is repaired. This weekend, the Jameses went on a camping trip with Reckless to celebrate the dog's return.

Associated Press writer Julie Walker contributed to this report.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press.


PETA's bid for turkey memorial in Utah denied

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — An animal rights activist's request to install a roadside memorial at the site where hundreds of turkeys died in a Utah truck crash has been denied.

The Utah Department of Transportation on Friday rejected the request made by Amy Meyer of Salt Lake City on behalf of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, saying it didn't meet the agency's policy standards.

The memorials allow grieving families to memorialize loved ones who die in highway crashes.

KSL reports Meyers argued the condition should be overlooked because turkeys in the factory-farming industry have no living relatives. She proposed that PETA's memorial urge people to "try vegan."

A truck hauling 720 turkeys crashed April 24 on a highway northeast of Provo, killing all but about two dozen of the birds.

Information from: KSL-TV, http://www.ksl.com/ 

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press.


Spam to be used to lure invasive big-headed ants

COSTA MESA, Calif. (AP) — California agriculture officials are on the hunt for an invasive species of ant that's been spotted in an Orange County yard -- and they'll use Spam as bait.

The Orange County Register reports that 1,570 bait stations will be set up Monday in seven Orange County cities.(backslash)

The ants love the fatty, oily food.

An amateur bug-lover spotted a colony last month in a Costa Mesa yard and agriculture officials have been trying to determine if there are other colonies.

The species is native to Africa and has a huge head.

If it spreads in California it could threaten the state's agriculture.

The ants aren't dangerous to humans.

Officials will try to get the OK from property owners before placing the bait stations in front yards.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press.


Bird tries to fly away with pet dog near Cashmere

CASHMERE, Wash. (AP) — The owners of a small dog suspect an eagle or other large bird attempted to carry it away from their home near Cashmere.

Marcia Green says after she let her Shih Tzu named Truffle into the yard April 23 she heard loud barking and then silence.

The Wenatchee World reports Truffle was gone. Green began looking and found it about 300 feet from the house, barely conscious.

A veterinarian treated the dog for six puncture wounds, a punctured lung and broken ribs.

Green didn't see the bird she believes picked up her 7-pound dog and then dropped it. Green and her husband now accompany Truffle when it's outside.

Information from: The Wenatchee World, http://www.wenatcheeworld.com 

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



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