January 1, 2015
West Virginia Troopers Hand Out $100 Bills
Princeton, WV (AP) Several people got a surprise when they were pulled over by West Virginia State Police troopers: Instead of a ticket, they got a $100 bill.
First Sgt. M.R. Crowder tells the Bluefield Daily Telegraph that Monday’s giveaway was a Secret Santa project funded by an anonymous donor. The troopers handed out $1,000 in all.
Spanishburg resident Marie Davis says she wondered what she had done wrong when she was pulled over. She says the trooper asked her if she felt lucky, and then handed her $100 and a candy cane.
Davis says the money will help pay for Christmas dinner.
Trooper D.C. Graham says people’s dealings with law enforcement are usually negative, and it’s a privilege to bring joy instead.
Note To Self: Write Robbery Memo At Home, Flush, Leave
Uniontown, PA (AP) Police say they matched a would-be pizza shop robber to a roll of toilet paper in his Pennsylvania home.
Uniontown police say 29-year-old Eric Frey tried to rob Michael Maria’s Pizza on Saturday by handing an employee a note written on toilet paper that read: “I have a gun. Give me $300.”
Police arrived before Frey could leave because an employee hit a panic button.
Frey told officers he was forced to commit the robbery by a large, bearded man with a gun who accosted him in a nearby alley.
But police say a search of Frey’s apartment wiped out that explanation: That’s where they say they found a newly opened roll of toilet paper with the pen impression from Frey’s note on an outer sheet.
Online court records don’t list an attorney for Frey.
Pennsylvania Town Plans To Nail It In 2015
West Fairview, PA (AP) A Pennsylvania town plans to nail their New Year’s Eve and bicentennial celebrations by dropping some major hardware to mark the occasion.
The Sentinel reports West Fairview plans to drop a 7-foot-tall nail as the clock ticks down Wednesday night. Local artists constructed the nail out of wood.
The 50-pound symbol pays homage to the defunct Harrisburg Nail Works, a local mill that once employed many residents. West Fairview is across the Susquehanna (suhs-kwuh-HAN’-uh) River from the state capital.
Organizers say the event will also serve to commemorate the town’s 200th anniversary in 2015.
The inaugural nail drop joins a host of creative New Year’s Eve traditions in neighboring towns, such as the dropping of a giant wrench in Mechanicsburg and a huge pickle in Dillsburg.
Dog Gone? No, Rescued In The Columbia Gorge!
Portland, OR (AP) A yellow Labrador that got spooked on a Christmas Day hike in the Columbia Gorge, snapping her leash and plunging 150 feet down a cliff, was rescued in the dark by a climber who rappelled to a narrow ledge where the dog was trapped.
David Schelske of West Linn told the Oregon Humane Society that when 3-year-old Sandy bounded around a bend and disappeared he figured her for a goner.
He hiked to the bottom of the cliff and saw her stranded on a narrow ledge 70 feet above.
About 7 p.m., an eight-person crew helped Humane Society volunteer John Thoeni (TAY’-nee) descend.
He fitted a rescue harness on the frightened dog, and the two were hoisted to safety. Sandy suffered minor injuries but walked out to the trailhead.
Record For Largest Paper Wad Set In Minnesota
St. Paul, MN (AP) A state agency in Minnesota is claiming the world record for largest ball of paper.
The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency says the ball measures 9 feet 7 inches tall and 32.2 feet in circumference. The 426-pound ball was displayed at the Minnesota State Fair to show how much recyclable paper state residents throw away every 30 seconds.
But anyone who missed seeing the ball at the fair is out of luck: The agency recycled it, turning it into cardboard for cereal boxes.
Spokeswoman Taylor Holland said Monday that the agency got confirmation last week from Guinness World Records.
There wasn’t a previous record. But in keeping with Guinness guidelines, no adhesives or tape was used. The ball was built around a cardboard frame and held together with paper netting.
NC Possum Drop Won’t Ring In 2015 With Live Animal
Brasstown, NC (AP) For most of the past 20 years, a live animal has been used in a small North Carolina town’s annual New Year’s Eve Possum Drop. But this year, following challenges from People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, the organizer says he’ll no longer use a live opossum‚ instead, it’ll be a road-kill opossum or perhaps a pot of opossum stew.
The Brasstown event involves enclosing an opossum in a tinsel-covered plastic box and lowering it to the ground at midnight, then releasing the animal.
PETA says the lights, noise and crowd can harm an opossum’s nerves and health.
A judge ruled earlier this month that organizer Clay Logan could use a live opossum if he got a state permit. But Logan says he didn’t have time.
He says if he doesn’t use a road-kill opossum or stew, it’ll be something similar.
Logan says he used a dead possum once previously because of legal challenges.
Township Orders Zombie Nativity Taken Down
Cincinnati (AP) A suburban Cincinnati township ordered a man to kill off his large “Zombie Nativity” scene.
Sycamore Township has sent Jasen Dixon two notices of zoning violations. Officials said they received complaints about debris at the home and upon inspection concluded the nativity violates rules on size and placement of yard structures.
Dixon was also told to remove debris. He faces legal action if he doesn’t comply by Friday.
Dixon manages a haunted house attraction and decided to create a zombie nativity, which he considers a holiday decoration. It has a white-eyed creature in the manger where the baby Jesus would be in traditional Christmas nativities.
Township administrator Greg Bickford says he could care less about the zombies, but the size of the front-yard structure is not permitted.