Saturday, October 10, 2015

It's the weekend

Three little bears have fun with a hammock

While mama bear has a snooze nearby.

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Suspected drunk driver who led police on high-speed chase told officers his dog was driving

A Florida man was arrested for DUI on Wednesday evening after he drove into two ditches, hid in a church bathroom, and told police officers that his dog had been driving the car. According to a police report, officers began chasing a car driven by Reliford Cooper III after the vehicle was spotted speeding at around 7:45pm.

With police in pursuit, Cooper, 26, raced through a stop sign and drove through two ditches before crashing into an occupied home on a street in Palmetto, a city 15 miles north of Sarasota. Cooper, a Palmetto resident, bolted from the car and sought to hide in the bathroom of a nearby Pentecostal church, but he was chased out by parishioners (and into the arms of police).

Cooper, who smelled of alcohol and marijuana, asked officers, “Who was chasing me?” He added, “You slow as f*ck!” But Cooper then disavowed being at the wheel, claiming: “My dog was driving that car, I ran cause I wanted to. You ain’t gonna find no drugs or guns on me.”

Cooper has previously served nearly five years in a Florida state prison following his conviction on armed robbery, burglary, and grand theft charges. Since his release from custody in mid-2013, he has twice been arrested for aggravated assault. Cooper, who told officer he works at a car wash, was charged with drunk driving, resisting arrest, and leaving the scene of an accident. He is currently locked up in lieu of $26,120 bond.

Runaway boat smashed head-on into truck

A boat on a trailer came loose from a vehicle while driving down Zero Street in Fort Smith, Arkansas, on Wednesday.

It then crashed head-on into a truck. Surveillance video from a nearby building captured the collision.

According to the driver of the truck, his vehicle was totalled.

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He also said he was fortunate enough to walk away from the accident with only minor scratches and bruises. It is unknown if any tickets were cited.

Police negotiators used suicidal car thief's cat to coax him down from ledge

As the standoff between San Francisco police and a suspected car thief threatening to jump from a building crept into its third hour on Wednesday evening, officers turned to an unlikely source to help them talk the man down: his cat. The man, barefoot and wearing only black shorts, was distraught and hanging out of a third-floor window of the building, threatening to leap. Officers set up foam pads below him as the department’s trained hostage negotiators perched precariously on a fire escape, urging the suicidal man figuratively and literally off the ledge.

But after three unsuccessful hours, reinforcements arrived in the form of the man’s orange-and-white feline. Using his pet, hostage negotiators were able to persuade him to go back inside the building, come down the stairs and surrender without incident. Within 45 minutes of the cat’s arrival, the 3½-hour standoff was over. “Using the cat was ingenious,” said Officer Albie Esparza, a police spokesman. “Never underestimate the power of the love between people and their pets. I think it was great to think outside the box like the officers did. It made enough of an impact on this person to bring him down and come to his senses.” The man had run into the building about 2:30pm, after he had been stopped while driving a white Toyota Highlander that had no licence plates.

While California Highway Patrol officers questioned him, he sat on a sidewalk. When a computer check showed that the car was stolen, the man jumped to his feet and ducked into the building, CHP officials said. San Francisco police responded to the scene once the situation devolved from a traffic stop to a possible suicide attempt. Officers from the hostage negotiation team, the tactical unit, the motorcycle unit, the traffic division as well as Southern Station arrived to aid in the standoff, Esparza said. A common strategy in these situations is to call the family of the person in crisis, in hopes a loved one can talk them down, Esparza said. The man’s family was on its way from the East Bay as negotiators gently spoke to him from the fire escape.

When police learned the man’s relatives brought his cat to the scene, officers took it up to the negotiators. Shortly after 6pm, the man went back inside the building and the standoff was resolved. “I don’t remember ever using a cat before, but it worked,” Esparza said. “The guy voluntarily came out of the window and opened the door and was taken into custody without incident.” Esparza said he never got the cat’s name, but he applauded the officers for their quick thinking, as well as their sensitivity. Even as the man, later named as Dion Stamper, 47, of San Francisco, was handcuffed and taken to a police car, officers brought the cat to him so he could see his beloved feline before going to jail. “The hostage negotiators establish a trust with the person, regardless if they are suicidal or a suspect, and you want to maintain that trust as much as you can,” Esparza said. “The guy wasn’t resisting. There was no need not to help him out. Obviously, he had a very emotional attachment to the cat and it was nice to comfort him as much as possible.”

Man who called 911 saying he was 'too high' after smoking weed found surrounded by snacks

A 22-year-old Ohio man called 911 last Friday evening and told officers he was "too high" after smoking marijuana.

When officers arrived at the man's home, his grandfather directed them upstairs where they found the man moaning, curled in the foetal position, and "surrounded by a plethora of Doritos, Pepperidge Farm Goldfish, and Chips Ahoy cookies."

In the audio of the 911 call, the operator asks the man what he took, he eventually responds with saying it was weed. The man told police he "smoked too much weed" and couldn't feel his hands.

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He directed officers to his car, where they found a glass pipe with marijuana residue, rolling papers and a glass jar of pot. So far, no arrests have been made.

Meanwhile in Foster City, California

Last Sunday morning, police were called about an unresponsive pair of legs underneath a vehicle.

On their arrival it was determined that they were attached to a male who had fallen asleep while changing the oil.

Party organisers ordered to drill holes in buckets to stop people drinking alcohol from them

Organisers of an event in Adelaide, Australia, have been ordered by liquor licensing authorities to drill holes in 4,500 plastic buckets to try to stop people drinking alcohol from them. This weekend's celebration in Rymill Park in the city is the culmination of AsiaFest and a local version of a Thai full moon party.

Councillor Anne Moran said the council gave approval for the parklands event but then heard from many concerned people about recent such events in Asia. "We were contacted by so many people saying 'My God, our children have been to this party in Thailand ... it's a terrible party with deaths and drugs'," she said.

"We had to approve it because it's an event in the parklands and - being unaware of the problems they've had overseas, we were unaware it had caused such problems in Thailand and other Asian countries - we [quickly] asked for a briefing from the Liquor Licensing Commission as to what's going to happen here, are we going to have the same problems as overseas?" Ms Moran explained that the Licensing Commission had to deal with alcohol issues for the event, to ensure it was run safely.

"I suspect the buckets were never supposed to be used for drinking but the Commissioner's just making sure that they're not used for that purpose by having holes drilled," the councillor said. "They are the emblem of the festival so they may be giving them out - perhaps you could tip your drinks in but there's no way known in our country you can serve a litre of cocktail or spirit legally in a bucket." Organisers of the Saturday parklands event said they were disappointed the demand that 4,500 holes be drilled came so close to their deadline.

Teacher praised for stripping off in front of class

A biology teacher in the Netherlands captured the attention of her pupils by stripping off in front of them.

The innovative teacher works at Groene Hart Rijnwoude school in the south of the country. Debby Heerkens stood on her desk before removing her clothing to reveal a skintight lycra suit that showed the entire muscle structure of a human.

Then she peeled the layer off, exposing a body suit with the internal organs. Finally, she peeled off the organs and showed a final body suit with the human skeletal structure.

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After uploading the images and video to the school's Facebook page, she has been praised for using such a creative way to teach children about the human anatomy.

Man jailed for riding horse where he shouldn't have been

A man has been jailed for six weeks after riding a horse in breach of a court order. John Ginty had been ordered not to "leave any horse" on a piece of land owned by a housing association near Middlesbrough.

He was found to have breached the order by leaving horses on the land and "riding a horse at speed". Detail emerged in a ruling published by a judge following a hearing at Middlesbrough County Court.

The ruling gave no background to the case, but it indicated that housing association Erimus had complained that Ginty was in contempt of a court order made in June, and the judge had agreed and jailed him.

A spokesman for Erimus explained that Ginty had originally been ordered not to tether his horse on land owned by the association and that was the order which had been breached. He said: “It is disappointing the individual has failed to abide by the court order we obtained earlier this year. We operate a zero-tolerance policy towards anti-social behaviour, which has a negative impact on the local community.”

Friday, October 09, 2015

Are we nearly there yet?

Dog plays fetch

Charlie the dog likes to play fetch with little Ethan. Literally.

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Police seek window-removing 'snake burglar'

A slithering suspect hunted by investigators in Douglas County, Georgia, may be responsible for a half dozen burglaries at businesses. They said they know it's the same suspect because he is breaking into the businesses in a unique way.

At one convenience store surveillance cameras show the suspect removing a full glass window from a door to get inside. Douglas County Sheriff Investigator Dale Kelley said the suspect is removing the trim from around the glass to remove the windows.

"I believe he's done some type of work with windows to be able to do it so neatly," Kelley said. Once inside, the suspect slithers along the floor like a snake to get to the cash register booth. Kelley said he's trying to avoid being detected by motion sensors which would set off an alarm.

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"He's covering his face up to the bridge of his nose, only exposing his eyes and he's always wearing gloves," he said. Kelley said he's equipped with tools to open a panel and crawl into the secure cash register booth. Investigators have tied the suspect to six burglaries in ten days. Four happened in Douglas County, one each in Douglasville and Marietta. Inv. Kelley said he always gets in the same way, by removing a full window.

Store robbed by man armed with bow and arrow

A man robbed a 7-Eleven in Virginia Beach, Virginia, early on Friday morning.

The robber used a bow and arrow to hold up the convenience store, just after midnight.

He then left the area with an undisclosed amount of cash. No injuries were reported.

Police have not yet provided a description of the suspect.

Divided residents of city overrun with rabbits search for solution

A bunny brouhaha has been brewing for some time in Langley in Island County, Washington. Proliferating rabbits have overrun the city. Residents are ready for action. The island community has lost count of the cottontails, but they know damage is on the rise with rabbit holes hurting foundations at the fairgrounds and causing tripping hazards all over.

“It’s got to stop. It’s not cute anymore,” Langley resident Fran Johnson says. She’s tired of them chewing through her garden. Johnson recalled, with a hint of envy, how her father’s generation would have handled the situation: “You put them in a gunnysack and throw them off the dock. That’s not going to go over too good with too many people,” she said.

Langley residents are split on how to deal with the reproducing rabbits, who are digging up yards and even a middle-school football field. Some residents are feeding and sheltering the rabbits. Others support eradicating them, perhaps calling on raptors to kill the furry intruders. One resident, so frustrated by the bunnies, shot at them with an air-powered gun, which led to a criminal charge.

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At a Langley community meeting on Tuesday, residents talked over their options. It is said they found common ground and could be nearing a rabbit resolution. The city is working to get an accurate count on their rabbit problem as they continue to search for a solution that will be a good fit for the whole community.

Car given parking ticket despite having wheels stolen

Adding insult to larceny, a car in Chicago that had all four of its wheels stolen overnight was given a parking ticket in the morning because it didn't get out of the way of a street cleaner. The 2011 GMC Denali was put up on cinder blocks after its wheels were stolen sometime between midnight and 7am on Thursday, according to the car owner's wife.

The owner parked the car at round 10:40pm on Wednesday evening near his home, according to his wife and police. It was the family's nanny who first noticed that the car wheels had been stolen. She told the car's owner, who then called the police to file a report. The policeman who helped them was "great," telling them all they had to do was put a note on the car with the police report number to avoid getting a ticket, the owner's wife said.

So the owner put the note up, making sure it was displayed prominently on the windshield. But that didn't stop a ticket writer from slapping a parking ticket directly over the note later on Thursday morning. "It's usually something you see in movies. It's crazy. I can't believe it happened," said the owner's wife, who declined to be named for fear of repercussions. "I'm disenchanted with city workers for not taking notice. We pay a lot of tax dollars so you think they'd take the time to read the note."

The ordeal was a huge inconvenience, the owner's wife said. Not only did her family have to deal with getting the car towed and repaired, but they also had to make sure the ticket is reversed, she said. Molly Poppe, spokeswoman for the city's department of transportation, said the ticket writer "had no way to confirm how long the car had been parked on the street or the police report number." "However, due to the circumstances of this issue and with knowledge that the wheels were stolen overnight, the city is voiding this ticket," she added.

Love letter stopped by fastidious beagle

A love letter filled with fresh rose petals will never make it to its destination in New Zealand thanks to a fastidious beagle.

Cleo the Ministry for Primary Industries detector dog sniffed out the ill-fated romantic gesture during one of her shifts at the International Mail Centre in Auckland last month.

MPI said the fresh rose petals posed a risk of disease and insects being brought into the country and was intercepted thanks to the detector dog's work. This was one of 26 seizures the young beagle made during September.

She also sniffed out a fresh salad and guacamole in a passenger's bag at Auckland International Airport. "Cleo is only a young dog, but she's really clocking up the finds," MPI said. While the letter did not get past Cleo, the recipient was sent a photo of the romantic gesture instead.

Court clears allegations against dog in domestic abuse case

An Indian court has dismissed allegations against a former Delhi minister's pet dog, Don the labrador. Somnath Bharti's wife had accused him of domestic violence and said Don would bite her at his master's behest. The dog became the subject of media speculation after he went "missing" with Mr Bharti, a former law minister, after the charges.

The court dismissed the accusations against Don after he refused to obey Mr Bharti's commands to attack. A Delhi court judge cited a police report where it was observed that the dog did not respond to the commands "Don come, Don bark, Don bite, Don sit down". Don's refusal to obey also won his master bail on Wednesday.

Described as overweight at 35kg (77lb), and lazy, the 12-year-old labrador became the subject of a police hunt, and intense media attention, when he "disappeared" along with his master, soon after they began investigating the case. It was eventually discovered that the former minister had left Don in his office in south Delhi before fleeing to an undisclosed location. Mr Bharti surrendered two weeks later, after India's Supreme Court refused to say it would grant him bail. Office workers reportedly told police that Don "mostly sleeps and eats, and barks when the AC is turned off".

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Mr Bharti's neighbours had all testified that Don was harmless. A neighbourhood restaurateur said Don walks around the apartment block unrestrained. "He walks slowly. He comes down to go to the park where he does his business and goes back. He is a harmless dog that does not cause any trouble." Officers had to seek medical attention for the dog after they discovered he had heart disease and his pills were in a locked cabinet in Mr Bharti's office. Meanwhile Mr Bharti's wife Lipika, who has accused him of domestic abuse and attempting to kill her, has said that the former minister also mistreated Don.

Embarrassment for fire-warning Forestry Minister after accidentally starting forest fire

German Forestry Minister Helmut Brunner accidentally started a forest fire over the weekend, after dumping ashes in a thicket near his house.

The Bavarian forestry ministry confirmed on Wednesday that Brunner tipped what he thought were extinguished ashes into a small forest near his house. But a few hours later he found flames rising from the same spot and had to call the fire services.

"I totally underestimated it, it's really embarrassing," the minister said. "You can't be careful enough." Half a dozen firefighters turned up to quell the blaze. The number was deemed necessary due to the heightened fire risk caused by a dry summer.

Brunner himself has repeatedly warned the public about the danger of forest fires during recent weeks. The firefighters were able to dampen the flames before they caused any damage to property.

Harpist 'banned' from bank in racist Welsh language sign row

A renowned harpist claims he has been banned from a bank in Aberystwyth after criticising the lack of priority given to the Welsh language on a sign. Robin Huw Bowen is angry about a sign in the HSBC branch which has the English word Welcome in big letters but the Welsh ‘Croeso’ in small letters. He feels the sign is racist as it treats the Welsh language in the same way as foreign languages, including French and Spanish, which are also on the sign in small letters.

He has called for HSBC customers to complain to the bank to ensure the sign gives priority to the Welsh language. Mr Bowen, of Capel Seion, said: “The ‘battle for the language’ has been won, we are told. Why then do businesses and bodies still refuse to respect our language here in Wales in the 21st century? This sign is actually in a branch of the ‘world’s local bank’ here on our doorstep in Aberystwyth, treating our national language as foreign.

“I believe this is basically racist, the bank consider Wales to be no more than a part of England. The bank has now banned me as I have made a rather noisy, public fuss every time I have complained, but many, many of my friends, both Welsh and English-speaking agree with my stance that the sign is racist and an affront to all of us in Wales.” Mr Bowen, who is recognised internationally as a leading exponent of the Welsh Triple Harp, uses HSBC to pay enrolment fees for the Society of the Traditional Instruments of Wales.

A HSBC spokesperson said: "We work hard to provide Welsh language services and have a close relationship with the Welsh Language Commissioner to help inform how we best communicate with our customers. We have shared Mr Bowen's concern about our welcome sign with our own Welsh language team as we take feedback seriously and will make sure it is fully considered. We are sorry Mr Bowen found the sign upsetting but due to his behaviour we had to ask him to leave our branch as it became too disruptive for our customers. We did not take this decision lightly and it is always the last resort."