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Weekly weird news: Feb. 1

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. The Associated Press
Saturday, February 1, 2014 - 9:36 am

Dead Puerto Rico boxer posed standing in the ring

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico — Even in death, Christopher Rivera Amaro almost looked ready to box, leaning against the corner of a simulated ring.

Mourners who came to his wake in San Juan on Friday found him posed afoot, a yellow hood on his head, sunglasses over his eyes and blue boxing gloves on his hands.

Elsie Rodriguez, vice president of the Marin Funeral Home, said Rivera's family wanted to stress his boxing. The funeral home suggested posing him in a ring.

The makeshift ring was set up in a community center of a public housing complex. Rodriguez told The Associated Press it took them several hours to create the scene.

The funeral home has staged similar wakes for others. One featured a deceased man riding his motorcycle.

The 23-year-old Rivera had a 5-15 record in the 130-pound weight class. Police said he was shot dead Sunday in the city of Santurce. No one has been arrested.

Ohio man buried astride beloved Harley motorcycle

MECHANICSBURG, Ohio — An Ohio man's family has fulfilled his dying wish — to be buried astride his beloved Harley-Davidson motorcycle encased in a see-through casket.

But it wasn't easy. The project required an extra-large cemetery plot to accommodate a Plexiglas casket for Billy Standley and his hulking custom-painted 1967 Electra Glide cruiser. Five embalmers worked to prepare his body with a metal back brace and straps to ensure he'll never lose his seat.

Standley's family said he'd been talking about it for years and liked to take people to the garage to show off the unusual casket his two sons had built for him. He told people he didn't just want to ride off to heaven, he wanted the world to see him do it in the big see-through box.

"He was a quirky man," daughter Dorothy Brown said. "But when it comes to us kids, he loved us, he raised us well and, of course, we wanted to help him."

The Dayton Daily News reported that Standley, of Mechanicsburg, west of Columbus, died of lung cancer Sunday at age 82. He was buried Friday.

Photos of the prepared casket showed Standley with his eyes closed astride the big bike. He was dressed in black leathers, a white helmet and glasses, his gloved hands grasping the handlebars.

Iowa fish launcher ensures dramatic eagle photos

LECLAIRE, Iowa — The photographers who line up at a Mississippi River lock to snap images of eagles are getting help from a man with a giant slingshot that flings dead fish into the open water.

Ken Kester, who built the contraption, calls it a "fish launcher."

Kester sets up the slingshot at Lock and Dam 14, in Le Claire, Iowa. He told the Quad-City Times it can toss fish far out into the channel where the water is calmer.

"You have to get the fish out there a couple hundred feet, into that comfort zone for the eagles," Kester said.

Jeff Harrison, a conservation officer with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, said flinging fish into the river is fine as long as the fish come from the local pool of water. Le Claire is 15 miles northeast of Davenport, on the Illinois border.

Photographers line the riverbank elbow-to-elbow on nice days to make images of the eagles, and the slingshot ensures more dramatic pictures.

Even though it doesn't hurt the eagles to serve up fish, Harrison wonders about the ethics for the photographers.

"I don't know if I agree with it," he said. "Some of these photographs show up in some pretty big magazines, and they are more or less staged."

And Kester, who works in the railroad industry but considers photography a serious hobby, said there are limits to his invention. Recently, after a couple hours of flinging fish, the eagles stopped grabbing them.

"I think they got full," he said.

Cat triggers library alarm

CLOVIS, N.M. — Salmon did the trick.

The initial suspicion was that a homeless person stayed in Clovis' public library past closing time and triggered the alarm system's motion detector.

But according to the Clovis News Journal, a search by police and librarian Margaret Hinchee for more than an hour that night was fruitless.

It happened the next few nights too. But then a custodian reported seeing a cat, and library staff spotted clues such as scratches in plant soil.

A check of video footage confirmed there was a cat in the library.

So the librarians put salmon in a cage and left one night. When they returned a half-hour later, the cat was in the cage.

The cat — gender unknown — now has a temporary home with a library employee.

Workers find $43,000 in pockets of donated clothing

MONROE, Mich. — Workers going through donated clothing at a Michigan thrift store turned up more than $43,000 in the pockets of suits and a robe.

Goodwill manager Tyler Gedelian told The Monroe Evening News that he sometimes finds loose change in clothing, but nothing like what happened Wednesday at the Monroe store. Stuffed in envelopes in the pockets were tidy stacks of $100 bills.

"We might find a quarter in somebody's jeans," he said. "But that blows my mind."

The 29-year-old called police, who tracked down the man who donated the clothes. That person had been cleaning out an elderly relative's closet and took the clothes to Goodwill; he didn't know there might be money hidden in them, the newspaper reported.

That man asked not to be identified.

Goodwill job coach Laura Pietscher was helping Gedelian sort the clothes at the time of the discovery. She was organizing the suits, which were kept in dry cleaner bags, when she also came across some envelopes. She and Gedelian then searched the rest of the clothes.

"My biggest concern was getting the money back to the rightful owner," Gedelian said. "I certainly can't imagine losing that kind of money. I was so nervous having so much of someone else's money."

When an officer arrived, he brought a small zippered bag to transport the cash. When Gedelian saw the officer, Gedelian said had one thought on his mind: "You're gonna need a bigger bag," he said.

W.Va. DOT snow plow driver charged with DUI

KEYSTONE, W.Va. — A West Virginia Department of Transportation worker faces charges of driving a state snow plow while drunk.

The McDowell County Sheriff's Department says Thomas Keith Henderson of Elkhorn was arrested late Wednesday during a traffic stop on Burke Mountain near Keystone.

A criminal complaint says Deputy R.L. Jones stopped the snow plow because the driver's side headlight was out. The deputy smelled alcohol and saw that Jones' eyes were bloodshot and glassy.

The sheriff's department says Henderson's blood alcohol level was 0.09. That's more than twice the 0.04 legal limit for commercial driver's license holders.

DOT spokeswoman Carrie Bly confirmed Henderson is employed by the department. She says the DOT can't comment because it's an ongoing legal matter.

Arizona shelter has 36-pound cat

PHOENIX — An Arizona animal shelter has a rather large cat on its hands.

The Maricopa County Animal Care and Control recently received a 36-pound cat at one of its shelters in the Phoenix area.

The cat named "Meatball" is temporarily staying in an office at the shelter because he's too large to fit into a standard kennel.

The cat is not available for adoption.

Instead, the shelter is trying to place him with a rescue organization that helps overweight cats.

The shelter says Meatball is extremely friendly and says he can comfortably walk despite his weight.

Boxes in Utah labeled 'TNT' turn out to be soap

TOOELE, Utah — A bomb squad in Utah checking out two boxes labeled as explosives says the containers turned out to be full of homemade soap.

The discovery at a Tooele home about 6 p.m. Wednesday prompted officials to evacuate about 20 houses. The area was cleared at about 10 p.m.

Police say the homeowner was doing maintenance on the subfloor of his home when he found the boxes labeled "Explosives/TNT."

Tooele Community Services supervisor Bucky Whitehouse says the soap got wet and started to foam, which is a common phenomenon of aging and volatile dynamite.

The Unified Fire Authority Bomb Squad used X-ray to determine the packages weren't explosives. They later found the contents were labeled as soap.

Odd call: Blowing nose brings big buck running

JACKSON, Miss. — The deer hunter figured sneezing had blown his chance at a deer, but blowing his nose brought a big buck running.

Ron Manning of Hinds County said he's hunted deer for 54 years and had never seen anything like what happened earlier this month — though he did once see a deer that tried to eat grape bubble gum and got gum all over itself, he told The Clarion-Ledger.

On Jan. 16, he said, he suffered a volley of nine sneezes in 10 minutes. He tried to muffle the noise in his elbow, but figured he had no chance of seeing a deer for an hour. So he went for the honk.

The next thing he knew, "a 17-inch, 8-point came roaring in," Manning said. "He had his ears laid back, his eyes glazed over and the hair standing up on his back. Obviously, I said something to upset him because he came to fight. He wasn't cautious. He came in running."

"He was wide open, coming to me," Manning said. "I shot him at 25 yards."

Manning joked that instead of a grunt/wheeze call, this deer was fooled by a cough/sneeze.

"I wish I knew exactly what I did so I could duplicate it," Manning said.