Thursday, August 25, 2016


This cat performs somersaults

Seemingly, just because it can.

Video has no sound.

YouTube link.

Elderly tortoise found 6 miles from home having apparent romantic liaison with drain cover

A tortoise thought to be 100 years old wandered more than six and a half miles from home before it was found.

Nancy Knauss said her tortoise, Touche, wandered out of her yard in Fresno, California, when a gardener left the gate open and the pet went on a slow-speed excursion across town.

Touche was found climbing onto a domed mount that covered a drain pipe. Nancy thinks the Touche may have developed an attraction to the cover, which resembles a tortoise shell.

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Nancy was overjoyed to be reunited with her longtime pet. She and Touche have been together for almost 55 years.

Man acting like a gorilla and inappropriately touching himself arrested

Police arrested a man who was “acting like gorilla” and touching himself inappropriately at Giant Eagle Plaza in Warren, Ohio. Officers were called to the scene on Friday morning following reports of two white males who were running around the lot and taking off their clothes.

Timothy Cook, 32, of Leavittsburg entered the nearby License Bureau, waved his arms around, exited the business and began masturbating on the sidewalk, according to the police report. The License Bureau then locked its doors due to safety concerns.

By the time officers arrived, they said they found Cook sweating profusely in the parking lot, acting like a “gorilla” by squatting on all fours, punching the ground, jumping up and down, screaming non-coherently and growling. Another officer arrived to help detain Cook, who did not resist arrest.

They called for an ambulance due to his erratic behaviour and paramedics administered Narcan to Cook for an apparent overdose. He was then taken to Trumbull Memorial Hospital. Officers found that Cook has an outstanding warrant for drug possession, but due to manpower shortages the warrant is still active. An officer detained the other man, Osmond LeMasters, 24, of Warren, who was found walking nearby. Both men were charged with disorderly conduct while intoxicated.

Firefighter read to skunk with head stuck in dumpster hole to keep it calm during rescue

The Cimarron Hills Fire Department in Colorado Springs, Colorado, took part in an unusual rescue mission at the Village East Apartments on Tuesday.

Fire crews spent approximately 45 minutes trying to free a skunk’s head from a drain hole at the bottom of a dumpster. Resident Tasha Lopez said: “I figured it couldn't hurt to call the Fire Department and just see if they would help.

“They sent a crew out to free the poor skunk,” said Lopez. The Fire Department eventually had to call the owner of the dumpster to get permission to cut the hole bigger.

One firefighter kept the little animal calm by reading to it while other firefighters worked to ultimately cut it free. Once the skunk was free it waddled away.

Town's health board rule that man's 'decorative' chemical toilets can stay

A man who placed two portable toilets along a retired physician's driveway in Williamsburg, Massachusetts, as "decorations" may keep them there, the Board of Health unanimously ruled on Monday after health agent Valerie Bird asserted that a "porta-potty" is not a "privy" under state law, and therefore exempt from town regulation. It's the latest chapter in a history of conflict between Chris Duval of Hyde Hill Road and local residents, including Dr. Henrietta Wallace, his closest neighbour.

Several months ago, Duval placed the toilets along Wallace's driveway, which crosses his property via an easement. "This is not a privy," Bird said at Monday afternoon's meeting. "It is a sani-can or chemical toilet ... you see them at construction sites ... we have no bylaw, and nobody regulates chemical toilets." A privy is the same thing as an outhouse, said Bird. Resident Jennifer Dohrman noted that Bird was using a different legal analysis than she had before. Bird had previously said the structures are exempt from oversight because they are "decorations" and not functioning toilets.

Resident Keith Harmon Snow, who has long been at odds with Duval over various issues, told the board they were being inconsistent. "You had no problem regulating chemical toilets when they were on my property," he said. Robert Parker, a resident and employee of Duval's, said that Snow's prior outdoor toilet was an outhouse, and not a chemical toilet. "It was a permanent structure with a pit in the ground," Parker said. Parker noted that Snow has long had a parked dead farm vehicle painted as a "decoration," which has not been regulated as an abandoned car.

According to Department of Environmental Protection regulations, a "privy" is defined as "a structure used for the disposal of human wastes without water transport consisting of a shelter built over an unlined pit or vault in the ground into which waste is deposited." The state law further says "no privy or chemical toilet shall be constructed or continued in use; provided that the board of health may approve in writing the construction or continued use of any privy or chemical toilet which it determines will not (a) endanger the health of any person; or (b) cause objectionable odours or other undue annoyance." Duval's neighbours have expressed disappointment at the decision.

Council say that 60 metre flight of steps in the middle of cycle path is not an ideal solution

A new £350,000 cycle route has opened in Torquay, Devon, complete with a flight of steps.

The new cycle route avoids a busy section of road. But there is a steep 60 metre section of steps in the middle of the path which runs out of the town.

Torbay Council says it is 'considering options to improve this element' but only if they can get additional funding. The cycle route was funded by the Heart of the Southwest Local Enterprise Partnership as part of its approved programme of improvements known as the 'Torquay Gateway'.

A council spokesman said: "As part of this phase of the scheme, a 60m section is served by steps with a provision to place a cycle in a channel to be pushed by hand. This overcomes a technical difficulty with the difference in level at this location. Whilst this is not an ideal solution, it does provide a safe and useable facility for a very short section of the route."

Body in churchyard was just man having a snooze

Passers-by were surprised when they walked past a 'body' lying amongst the gravestones in the churchyard of St Mary's Parish Church in Ashford, Kent.

Shrouded from head to toe in a brown blanket, the unusual sight turned the heads of people strolling through the churchyard in the town centre at about 3.30pm on Saturday.

Steve Salter said: "It seems it was a rough sleeper taking refuge and having a kip in the churchyard but you should have seen the looks the sight was getting from passers by. He was lying parallel with another gravestone and just keep covering himself over. There were lots of people walking past at that time of day.

"Several people went over to see if he was alright but he just waved his arms at them to go away. At one point some bellringers even came out of the church and walked past him. He was there for about an hour but then it started raining so he collected his stuff up and went."

Mystery surrounds flowers left at site of small grass fire

A mystery bunch of flowers left at the scene of a small grass fire has caused confusion.

When Clive Power went for a walk around Wanstead Flats in east London on Sunday evening he found a section of grass taped off by the fire brigade and a bunch of flowers next to it. But the 42-year-old was confused when he saw no signs of a car crash at the scene and no note with the flowers.

He said: “Someone left a bouquet as if to suggest someone had died, but it was very confusing as there were no tyre marks or signs of impact from a crash.” The mystery surrounding the flowers continued when a spokesman for the London Fire Brigade said the only incident they were called to that day was a small grass fire.

They said: “We were called to a small grass fire at 3.30pm on August 21, but it must have been very minor as we left the scene 45 minutes later.” The Metropolitan Police and London Ambulance Service both had no reports of any calls to the scene that day, with no injuries or fatalities.

Council to use forensic liquid to tackle theft of paving slabs

Paving slabs are to be invisibly marked by a council to deter thieves from stealing York stone. Leeds City Council said in 2015 it had had to replace £50,000 worth of the stone in a year.

It has started to spray traceable liquid over the slabs so paving stones if found can be checked to see if they are stolen. Councillor Richard Lewis said the council was "losing a huge number of slabs". York stone is a textured stone quarried in Yorkshire and features in much of the paving in the older parts of the city.

It is common in Armley, Beeston, Burley, Chapel Allerton, Gledhow, Harehills, Headingley, Pudsey and Roundhay. Mr Lewis said: "Whatever you have in the public domain - if it has a value to it - you have people trying to steal it." The council had about 520 reports of missing or stolen paving in 2015-16.

The forensic traceable liquid called SmartWater is almost invisible to the naked eye and each solution has its own code identifying its origin. The first year of a rolling programme to spray the city's paving will cost about £10,000, the council said. Mr Lewis added that the council "had to do something" and hoped criminals would realise Leeds was a "no-go area" for paving theft.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Planter pals

Conversation with a cockatoo

A somewhat surreal subtitled conversation with Gotcha the Moluccan Cockatoo.

YouTube link.

Man arrested after evening involving alcohol, golf cart, gun, marijuana and getting naked

A 67-year-old Florida man was arrested after an unusual series of events in the Village of Sanibel on Friday evening. Patrick John McGowan had been drinking at Bonifay Country Club with a man he has known for about two years. The two men decided to get into McGowan’s golf cart and go to his home in the Megan Villas for a few more drinks.

The man was on the veranda when McGowan came out with a handgun, threatening to kill him and accusing him of spying on him, according to an arrest report from the Sumter County Sheriff’s Office. The man convinced McGowan to put the handgun away. McGowan left the veranda, then returned and this time he was naked and carrying a marijuana pipe. He cajoled the other man and told him to smoke marijuana, and the other man, in fear of his life, pretended to smoke the marijuana.

He said he was going to walk back to the country club to retrieve his vehicle. As he was walking, McGowan came up behind him in his golf cart and offered to drive him to the country club. But when the man got into the golf cart, McGowan started driving at a high rate of speed back to his residence. The man had considered jumping out of the golf cart, but it was travelling too fast. When they got back to McGowan’s garage, McGowan pulled a gun from his shorts and again threatened to kill the man.

A struggle ensued and the other man took the gun and fired a shot to scare McGowan. When deputies arrived, the man was sitting on the floor of the garage with the gun and McGowan was laying on his side. McGowan was arrested on charges of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, false imprisonment, battery, possession of marijuana and possession of drug equipment. He was booked at the Sumter County Detention Center and released on Saturday after posting $18,000 bond.

Man trying to impress girlfriend rescued from between buildings after unsuccessful roof jump

Emergency crews rescued a man who was stuck between two buildings in the Oakland neighbourhood of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, for about four hours early on Tuesday morning.

The man fell at about 2am when he tried jumping from the roof of the Bruegger's Bagels up to the roof of the Qdoba Mexican Grill. A police spokeswoman said the man was with his girlfriend at the time of the accident and was trying to impress her. The man, who is a student at the University of Pittsburgh, fell three storeys into the space between the buildings, which is between 16 inches and 18 inches.

Emergency crews cut through walls from inside the Qdoba to reach the man. At one point during the rescue, a rope was used to lower a paramedic between the buildings to check on the man, who was going numb. The man was wheeled out on a gurney at about 6am and was alert, even waving to TV news cameras. He was taken to UPMC Presbyterian Hospital with a possible broken leg.

Bruegger's Bagels opened later than usual because of the incident, prompting the restaurant to put the following message to guests in its window: “Today, August 23rd, we will not be opening til 7am due the man who thought it would be a good idea to jump our rooftop to impress his girlfriend and got stuck between the building walls!” Authorities say the man and woman has reached the roof by climbing a fire escape.

With news video.

Apologetic newspaper ad helped repeat drink-driver avoid prison sentence

A man's very public apology for drink-driving has helped to keep him out of prison. 55-year-old Bay Haika appeared in the Christchurch District Court in New Zealand on Tuesday for sentencing having admitted his fourth charge of driving under the influence. Judge John Strettell told him that jail was sometimes imposed for a fourth conviction at a high level.

Haika took out a classified ad in The Press newspaper earlier this year to apologise for his drink driving after being caught driving erratically in central Christchurch on December 18, 2015. He had 1013mcg of alcohol to a litre of breath - more than four times the legal limit. Defence counsel Kerry Cook urged the judge to consider the long gap of 19 years since Haika's last conviction, his genuine remorse and his attendance at a treatment programme. Haika had also taken the "extraordinary step" of publicly apologising by publishing a newspaper advertisement.

Haika's remorse helped him avoid a jail sentence for his fourth drink-driving conviction. "Most people who come to the courts try to keep their offending as private as possible," Cook said. In February, Haika took out a public notice in The Press to say sorry for his actions: "I would like to apologise . . . to the wider communities out there for driving a vehicle under the influence of alcohol," it said. "It's just not worth it!! The harm you can cause to others and your own family/partners, to maim and/or worse cause death, whilst doing a stupid action! for an extra celebration drink or two [sic]."

Judge Strettell said to Haika: "You have taken steps to put yourself through a programme and have apologised generally to others through an advertisement in the paper. That is uncommon, I have to say. It does at least recognise a degree of remorse." But he said Haika had been driving with a high breath-alcohol level and it was clear from his erratic driving that he was a danger on the roads and could not properly control his vehicle. He also took into account the long gap since his last conviction. The judge imposed four months of community detention with a nightly curfew at Haika's Linwood address, 150 hours of community work, nine months of intensive supervision with a special condition that he take alcohol and drug intervention as required and disqualified him for driving for a year.

Woman stopped at airport with over 2kg of gold hidden in her underwear

Air Intelligence Unit (AIU) officers in India took a woman passenger travelling from Dubai to New Delhi into custody after they retrieved gold bars weighing over two kilograms from her underwear.

The AIU said that officers intercepted a lady passenger identified as Farhat Unnisa, a resident of Hyderabad, after she disembarked from a Jet Airways flight from Dubai on Monday night.

The AIU statement said that on examination of Ms Unnisa, they recovered gold bars weighing two kilograms and 160 grams. They said that the gold bars were concealed in her underwear.

The gold bars, valued at Rs. 6,438,960 (£73,000, $96,000) were promptly seized and the passenger was arrested. She has been booked and further investigations are underway.

Police given nose-picking warning

Police in the Philippines have been warned not to pick their noses while on duty.

A memorandum issued by the National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) reminds officers not to do anything that might create a negative impression.

As well as leaving their noses alone, officers in the capital, Manila, have been told not to play online games, smoke or chew gum during their shifts.

The list also specifies that any bodily itches must remain unscratched, and officers should avoid "unseemly posture" such as standing on one leg.

Squatters living in derelict prison face jail terms

Squatters who broke into and have been living in a disused prison in Dublin, Ireland, face terms of imprisonment for failing to comply with a High Court order. Ms Justice Deirdre Murphy granted the State leave on Monday to bring a motion before the court within the next two days seeking to attach and commit to prison the squatters for contempt of court. Barrister Joseph O’Sullivan told the court that the Department of Expenditure and the Office of Public Works considered the former debtors’ prison to be unsafe.

Last week, the State was granted an injunction restraining the squat and directing those in unlawful possession to vacate the property by Sunday. Mr O’Sullivan said the order of Mr Justice Michael Hanna had not been complied with and he had been instructed to seek to attach and commit a number “of unknown persons” still squatting in the old prison. John Roche, a man who identified himself as a member of the group, said he had complied with the order and had vacated the property.

He told the judge that a week was not allowing the group enough time to leave the debtors’ prison and asked that the time be extended to a month. Ms Justice Murphy said she did not have jurisdiction to amend Mr Justice Hanna’s order and granted the State bodies leave to bring their motion within 48 hours. Mr O’Sullivan said a number of the squatters were in court but were unknown to the applicants. They were not identified in court and Ms Justice Murphy granted the State leave to serve notice of the notice of motion on them by attaching it to the prison gate and placing copies in and around the old prison.

Earlier, the court heard there were serious concerns about the safety of the group and anyone visiting them as the old debtors’ prison was in a derelict condition. Mr Justice Hanna had been told the squatters had recently been ordered by the High Court to leave a squat in Grangegorman and had moved to the old debtors’ prison. He heard the building was in a dangerous state and had no running water. The State authorities feared that its electrical circuit would not support various appliances which had recently been brought in by the squatters. There were also health concerns in relation to the effect of pigeon droppings on young children. The motion will be brought before the court on Wednesday.

King penguin promoted to rank of brigadier

The world’s most decorated penguin, Sir Nils Olav, was elevated to the rank of brigadier in His Majesty the King of Norway’s Guard in a ceremony at Edinburgh zoo on Monday.

The king penguin is already Colonel in Chief of the guards and mascot of the battalion, and in 2008 was awarded a knighthood, an honour approved by King Harald V of Norway himself.

Fifty members of the regiment visited the zoo to bestow the unique honour on the 14-year-old. Sir Nils is the third penguin of the same name at the zoo, following a tradition initiated in 1972 by a Norwegian lieutenant, Nils Egelien.

YopuTube link.

The penguins, which have become a symbol of the close relations between Norway and Scotland, were named after Egelien and the then Norwegian king, Olav V, father of the current king, Harald V. Norway presented the zoo with its first king penguin when it opened in 1913.

Man woke up to find 13 donkeys in his garden

A dawn chorus of eeyores greeted a resident of Cleethorpes in north east Lincolnshire on Tuesday morning after 13 donkeys found their way into his front garden.

John Coggon opened the curtains at his home to find the herd of donkeys on his front lawn. They had escaped from Cleethorpes Country Park after vandals had apparently attacked the pens overnight.

It would appear the popular beach entertainers may have found their way through the park and across King George V playing field close to Mr Coggon's home. The donkeys owners arrived to collect the animals at around 7am.

Mr Coggon said: "The gate was open, I looked out and there were 13 donkeys there. We went and closed the gate so they didn't get out onto the road. It was certainly an unusual thing to wake up to."