Friday, January 23, 2009


Pa. mayor trades 'Ravens' for 'Steelers'

PITTSBURGH (UPI) -- Pittsburgh Mayor Luke Ravenstahl said he wants to be known as Mayor Steelerstahl for the next few days as a sign of solidarity with his city's NFL team.

The mayor said ahead of Sunday's playoff game between the Steelers and the Baltimore Ravens that he wanted to remove the "Ravens" from his name, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported.

"On behalf of the Steelers Nation, I've decided to remove the word 'Ravens' from my name just like the Steelers will remove them from the AFC Championship," he said.

Ravenstahl began a Verified Petition for a Name Change Thursday, but civil court staff said it is unlikely to be filed because it is incomplete and does not include the requisite $108 check.

The mayor said the idea was given to him by listeners of the Star 100.7 morning show who "called in and thought it would be a good idea to change from Ravenstahl, given we are playing the hated Baltimore Ravens this weekend, to Steelerstahl."

"As soon as I heard it, I thought it was a great idea," he said.

Copyright 2009 by United Press International

Thursday, January 22, 2009


Police: Robber's target bank moved

NICHOLASVILLE, Ky. (UPI) -- Police in Kentucky said an attempted armed robber left a former bank without any loot after finding the facility had been converted to a water district office.

Nicholasville police spokesman Scott Harvey said the suspect entered the Jessamine South Elkhorn Water District office, which used to be a Farmer's Bank, at about 1 p.m. Tuesday and brandished a revolver, The Lexington (K.Y.) Herald-Leader reported.

Harvey said the suspect "left with nothing" after employees explained to him that the bank had left the building. No one was injured in the incident, police said.

Diana Clark, office manager for the water district, which moved into the building Dec. 15, said the attempted robber was not the first to make the mistake.

"We've had people come in here asking to cash a check," Clark said.

Copyright 2009 by United Press International

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Confiscated for "SAFE KEEPING

Accidental gunshot shatters toilet

CENTERVILLE, Utah (UPI) -- Police in Utah said they have confiscated a man's .40-caliber pistol after the weapon accidentally fired in a restaurant bathroom and destroyed a toilet.

Investigators said the 26-year-old Salt Lake City man, who had a concealed weapons permit for the gun, suffered minor injuries to his arm as a result of porcelain shards sent flying from the exploding toilet at the Centerville Carl's Jr. fast food eatery, The Salt Lake Tribune reported.

Police Lt. Paul Child said the man told officers the gun fell out of its holster while he was pulling up his pants. Child said no charges were filed against the man but the firearm was confiscated for "safe keeping."

"He was a little shook up, so we just wanted to take it right then and allow him time to gather himself before releasing it to him," Child said.

Copyright 2009 by United Press International

Tuesday, January 20, 2009


18th toilet torched in San Francisco

SAN FRANCISCO (UPI) -- San Francisco authorities said a construction site's portable toilet was torched early Thursday, marking the 18th such arson attack in two months.

Fire Department Lt. Mindy Talmadge said the construction site toilet at Washington and Taylor streets on Nob Hill became the 18th portable toilet in the area to be set afire during the past two months when it was ignited at about 4 a.m. Thursday, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.

Talmadge said the 18 arson fires have caused an estimated $45,000 in damage.

One construction foreman in the city said he has been protecting his site's toilet by disguising it as a storage shed with dark plywood and a brown blanket.

Copyright 2009 by United Press International

Thursday, January 15, 2009


Model helicopter perplexes prison guards
SHEERNESS, England (UPI) -- Guards at a British prison said they think a model helicopter spotted flying over the facility at night was being used in an attempt to get drugs to prisoners.

The guards said the helicopter, which was carrying a small package believed to contain the drugs, was spotted by security cameras at Elmley Prison in Sheerness, England, over the accommodation blocks, which are not locked at night and allow prisoners access to the grounds, The Sun reported.

"Using a mini-helicopter to get contraband into jails is unprecedented," a prison source said. "It was pitch black and the officers were sweeping the area using special CCTV cameras when they spotted it. They nearly fell off their chairs."

"They sounded the alarm right away because the helicopter was heading straight for the accommodation blocks," the source said.

However, guards said they were unable to find any trace of the toy or its cargo during a search of the six accommodation blocks.

Copyright 2009 by United Press International

Monday, January 12, 2009


Frozen 'hands' prove to be animal gonads
FORT WORTH, Texas (UPI) -- The new owner of a Texas apartment called police when he found what appeared to be human hands in the freezer -- only to learn they were animal testicles.

Patrick McCusker of Fort Worth stumbled across the items Friday while he was cleaning out the freezer, The Dallas Morning News reported.

Roger Metcalf of the Tarrant County Medical Examiner's Office said the objects did indeed look like hands, especially since they had been placed inside a plastic surgeon's glove.

"You couldn't tell what they were until you got the things open," he said.

Metcalf said the objects are now outside the Medical Examiner's jurisdiction. The office will not determine what type of animal the testicles belonged to.

A maintenance man told the newspaper the previous owners of the apartment once killed a wild pig.

Copyright 2008 by United Press International

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Son Surprises Mom from 12,000 Miles Away

ANAHEIM, Calif. (UPI) -- A California contractor working in Iraq stunned his mother on her 50th birthday by appearing live on a computer screen in a store window she was passing.

"That's my son!" Ginger Barnett of Anaheim, Calif., squealed Saturday night when she saw 33-year-old Carl waving hello from the screen inside Ben Bridge Jewelers in the Brea Mall.

Next to the computer screen was a Rolex watch with a card that read, "Happy 50th Birthday Mom," The Orange County (Calif.) Register reported.

Brown said he enlisted family and friends to set up the live Web cam and accompany his mother to the mall and past the store, where she had often admired the jewelry and watches.

"I can't stop shaking," Barnett said. "I had no idea."

Brown, a U.S. Army veteran who works under contract training Marine troops in Iraq, said the longer he is away from home, the more he values it.

"One thing will never change and that is, where Mom is, home is," Brown said.

Copyright 2009 by United Press International

Saturday, January 10, 2009


Texas may charge more in polygamy inquiry
AUSTIN, Texas (UPI) -- Texas authorities could charge as many as 50 members of a breakaway Mormon group with bigamy, a Utah newspaper reported Tuesday.

The Deseret Morning News said Texas Rangers are investigating 20 alleged cases of sexual assault involving the Fundamentalist Church of the Latter-Day Saints. Five church members have been indicted in Texas, including Warren Jeffs, the group's leader.

Earlier this year, Rangers raided the Yearning For Zion Ranch in El Dorado, Texas, after child welfare authorities received a call from someone claiming to be a teenager forced into marriage with an older man. That call is now believed to be a hoax, but investigators found evidence of teens younger than the legal age of consent in "spiritual marriages."

Rod Parker, a Utah lawyer who serves as a spokesman for the church, said he did not believe 50 men at the ranch were in polygamous marriages.

"I think they would have a problem coming up with 50 bigamy charges without charging the women," Parker said.

Bigamy charges are also difficult to bring when everyone involved is an adult and aware of the plural relationship and a man only marries one woman legally.

Copyright 2008 by United Press International

Friday, January 9, 2009


Man sues over $9,500 Verizon bill
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. (UPI) -- A West Palm beach, Fla., man is suing Verizon Wireless in state court after his family incurred a $9,500 wireless Internet bill in just 11 days.

Steven Sprague, 48, said he was given a free wireless card for his laptop computer when he re-upped his two-year contract with Verizon and the suit claims he was told by a sales agent that the unlimited wireless card usage from his previous plan would carry over, the Palm Beach (Fla.) Post reported.

However, the card was broken by Sprague's wife after only 11 days of use by the couple and their three children, ages 16, 12 and 8. Nonetheless, Sprague said, his bill for the month was nearly $9,500.

"I was ticked off at her for breaking the card, but she was doing me the biggest favor in the world," he said. "At least it stopped there."

Sprague said he took the bill to the Circuit City kiosk where he re-upped his contract and found the plan was not unlimited, but instead included a 49-cent surcharge for each megabyte over 5 gigabytes of monthly use.

"This case is either the classic bait-and-switch situation or, worst case, just a blatant attempt to get people in a contract where they don't know what they are getting into," said Sprague's lawyer, Philip Valente Jr.

Copyright 2008 by United Press International

Thursday, January 8, 2009


City apologizes for incorrect lawn letters
CANTON, Ohio (UPI) -- Health officials in Canton, Ohio, have apologized to six property owners mistakenly cited for high grass and weeds.

The department said it apologized by letters and phone calls to the homeowners who were sent letters declaring their properties public health nuisances, the Canton Repository reported.

Rose Ward said she was shocked to receive a letter from the Health Department ordering her to cut down high grass and weeds in her yard. She said she has kept her lawn and garden meticulously maintained since moving into her house in 1972.

"Why wouldn't they check first to make sure you have accurate information before you do something, because my blood pressure went up," Ward said.

"Failure to comply with this order may result in the Canton City Board of Health furnishing the materials and labor necessary to abate this nuisance and placing the cost of such abatement as a lien upon your property," the letter received by Ward stated.

Mark Adams, the city's director of environmental health, said the citation process is being fine-tuned to prevent future mistakes.

Copyright 2008 by United Press International

Wednesday, January 7, 2009


Women are pen pals for 57 years
PHOENIX (UPI) -- A Minnesota woman said she feels like her British pen pal is a sister because the two have grown so close, after writing one another for 57 years.

Marlene Yeomans, 70, of Wolverhampton, England, and Karen Sorensen, 70, a former Arizona resident who lives in Minnesota, have been communicating through letters since Jan. 16, 1951, The Arizona Republic reported.

Yeomans said she began sending letters to Sorensen as part of a school assignment.

"It was exciting. Letters came from across the ocean and at the age of 12 it was hard to comprehend how far everything was," Sorensen told the Republic.

Since the women began writing, Sorensen has twice traveled to England to visit Yeoman, the report said.

The pen pals said they met again recently in Arizona when Yeoman finally made her first trip to the United States.

"Writing over the years has brought us together. We feel like we're sisters," Sorensen said.

Copyright 2008 by United Press International


YORBA LINDA, Calif. (UPI) -- An 85-pound Labrador retriever named Timber endured cactus spines and a cut to hunt down his California family 2 miles away at a house he'd only visited by car.

Timber had been staying with Justin Murrietta's parents because Murrietta's landlord in Yorba Linda does not allow dogs, the Orange County (Calif.) Register reported.

Timber escaped Dec. 30 through an open gate at Armando and Rose Murrietta's home about 2 miles from Justin's house, which the dog had visited occasionally by car.

The family posted fliers, checked the local animal control Web site hourly and drove around Yorba Linda looking for Timber.

About midnight on New Year's Eve, Justin Murrietta's wife April heard a thumping at the front door and found Timber covered in cactus spines and with a cut that required 20 stitches. Apparently, the thumping was Timber hitting his tail against the front door.

The Murriettas planned to ask their landlord if Timber can stay while his stitches heal.

"This family would have been torn up if Timber didn't come home," said Justin's mother Rose. "He really is one of the family."

Copyright 2009 by United Press International

Tuesday, January 6, 2009


CINCINNATI (UPI) -- One of the founders of an Ohio nudist resort has been ordered to pay rent while a legal dispute makes its way through the courts.

Board members at Paradise Resort in Coleraine say that David Weber has spent resort money for his own purposes and tried to get a couple who were among the original group to turn their shares over to him when they resigned, the Cincinnati Enquirer reported. They say he is now, in effect, a squatter on their property.

Weber, who filed the original suit in January claiming that the board was trying to drive him out, says that he has a lifetime right to live at the resort. The board filed a countersuit.

After a hearing Friday, a judge in Cincinnati ordered Weber to pay $375 a month plus utilities in rent. In return he is to be allowed to use the pool and all other facilities at the 35-acre resort.

Copyright 2008 by United Press International

Monday, January 5, 2009


MOUNT ISA, Australia (UPI) -- The mayor of an Australian mining town says "beauty-disadvantaged" women who see themselves as ugly ducklings could turn into swans in his town.

"May I suggest if there are five blokes to every girl, we should find out where there are beauty-disadvantaged women and ask them to proceed to Mount Isa," Mayor John Molony told The Australian.

The town's population of women ages 20 to 24 dropped from 994 in 1996 to 819 10 years later.

Molony said women who come to Mount Isa might develop other qualities that would bring them -- and their men folk -- happiness. As he said, "beauty is only skin deep."

Some young men in the town seemed dubious. Paul Woodlands, a 25-year-old construction worker, said the problem is that traditional women's jobs in the town, like hairdressing, do not pay as well as the men's jobs -- or as well as they do in the big cities.

"I know a few women who have come out here to do hairdressing, but they left to go back to the coast because the pay was bad and there's not much to do," Woodlands said.

Copyright 2008 by United Press International

Sunday, January 4, 2009


Officials: Tortoise seeks lost owner
O'FALLON, Mo. (UPI) -- City officials in O'Fallon, Mo., said a 30-pound tortoise found in a resident's backyard may go to a zoo if its owner fails to claim it.

Officials said they believe the male African Spurred tortoise, which was found by a resident Tuesday, was a pet that escaped from its home, the St. Louis (Mo.) Post-Dispatch reported.

City spokesman Tom Drabelle said the reptile is very friendly toward humans and enjoys attention, leading officials to believe it was once someone's pet.

"It's just so comfortable with people," Drabelle said.

Drabelle said the tortoise, which is being looked after at the Tender Care Animal Hospital, may go to a zoo if it is not claimed by its owner within a few days.

Copyright 2008 by United Press International

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Ohio Grandma heads to Oreo-licking Contest

NEW ORLEANS (UPI) -- An Ohio grandmother thinks she has what it takes to compete against sibling pro quarterbacks Eli and Peyton Manning in an Oreo-licking contest.

Marie Balog, 74, of Chippewa Lake flew to New Orleans with her son Tuesday for the Double StufOreo Lick Race, the Akron Beacon-Journal reported. She was one of 10 finalists.

The finals will be Thursday at Isidore Newman High School, where the Manning brothers began their football careers. The winner will walk away with a $10,000 prize.

Balog told the newspaper she likes baking with Oreos -- she uses them for cheesecake crust. But she said her son, Ted, is the one who really likes eating them, which is why she invited him to be her partner in the finals.

Balog is a big fan of contests and has already won trips to San Francisco and to a movie premiere in New York. She said this is the first time she has actually had to demonstrate a skill.

Copyright 2008 by United Press International

Friday, January 2, 2009


Dearest Carolyn,
This was the first year I was unable to be with you all for Christmas and New Years Day is here and I am filled with so much love and wishes for you. Daughter, you have been and will always be the joy of my life. You have been loved from the moment I found out I was carrying you in my womb. The love your father and I had for each other and the love we had when you arrived was special.

Over the years I became a single parent and that did not stop me from seeing you through high school, Sixth Form and University. Today you are thousands of miles away in Georgia, USA but you remain in my heart as the ray of sunshine that has brightened and guided me over the years.

I wish you all the best, Bibs. If Tia Brenda and Chichi were alive I know they would be so proud of all that you have achieved. I know that I am proud of you and have always been proud of you. Your successes are my successes. Keep on attaining that star that shines in your eyes and heart.

As we move into 2009, I look forward to seeing you and being with you. Keep on smiling and joking and being the best friend a mother could ask for. Baby girl, you are my greatest achievement. You are the best poem I have ever written, the best song I have ever sung and the best speech I have ever given. Reach for the unreachable and remember that you can be all you want to be.

Just say I CAN and you will be surprised at how much you will be able to do.

I love you and always will.

Ciarra, my little princess,
From the first moment I held you in my arms I knew you were grandma's girl. You are my joy and my peace. You are my blooming lily, my walking happiness. God Bless you my little angel. You are loved and you are cared for. Keep on making us proud of you. Keep on smiling and keep on learning.

Your journey of life has just begun. You have much to achieve and you will!

I love you and I miss you.

Grandma's special little star, know this: I will always be there for you. Reach out and take my hand.

All my love and kisses,
Grandma Brenda

Thursday, January 1, 2009


Remember back in 1999 when we all thought the world would come to an end on the ist day of January, 2000? Imagine! Eight years have come and gone since that day when the computers were supposed to go crazy etc, etc.

All I can say is that I am happy to be alive in the world even though we have no real assurance what tomorrow brings.

Yesterday evening I prepared a meal for my family in Chetumal, Mexico. As is customary, we sat down to eat at midnight. Amidst wine, cocacola and good food we ate and talked and enjoyed the beginning of a new year.

Happy New Yearsto all. May you all have a prosperous year. May 2009 bring you all the peace, joy and happiness your hearts can hold.

Thank you for sharing my blog with me. Thank you for the comments and tahnk you for giving time to read what I put in my blocks.

Together we will face 2009. Once again happy, HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!