Last week’s odd news: 1793 penny sells for $2.35 million

January 12, 2015 Posted by admin

A 1793 U.S. one-cent piece has sold at auction for $2.35 million.

Heritage Auctions, of Dallas, said the penny, known as a “chain cent,” sold at auction Jan. 7 in Orlando, Florida.

Heritage President Greg Rohan says the copper cent is rare because the design on the back — a chain with 13 linking rings symbolizing the unity of the original 13 colonies — was changed soon after production started in March 1793. He says critics at the time felt the chain evoked an image of slavery, so the design was changed and a wreath replaced the chain.

Rohan says the buyer was a coin collector who wished to remain anonymous.

The coin was purchased for only $76 the first time it appeared in an auction back in 1879.

Bobcat trapped in car grille to return to Arizona forest

An Arizona couple thought they accidentally hit the bobcat with their car, but were surprised to find it safe and sound.
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An Arizona bobcat that survived getting stuck inside an oncoming car is going back into the wild.

Arizona Game and Fish Department officials say the bobcat was to be released Jan. 9 into Tonto National Forest after being rescued a week ago.

A couple driving in Scottsdale on Jan. 2 hit the animal after it darted into their path.

Upon reaching their destination, the man inspected his Mazda sedan and saw the very-much-alive bobcat trapped in the plastic grille.

Game and Fish employees sedated the 7-pound animal and removed it.

The bobcat spent a week at the Southwest Wildlife Rehabilitation Center in Scottsdale, where it was evaluated by a veterinarian.

Game and Fish officials called the bobcat’s survival without any major injuries a New Year’s miracle.

Techs at Dallas-area dealership rescue cat from car grille

A four-week-old stray kitten got its head stuck in a Texas woman’s car vent after climbing into the bumper to keep warm. Park Place Lexus Grapevine not only freed the animal free of charge, but found it a forever home with one of its employees.
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GRAPEVINE, Texas – Technicians at a Dallas-area dealership have done it again when it comes to rescuing live animals trapped in vehicles.

KDFW-TV reported Jan. 7 that workers at Park Place Lexus in Grapevine saved a kitten from an SUV after the driver heard meowing under the hood.

Crews on Dec. 26 located the cat behind a heat shield near the grille. Service manager Rod Moreno says workers could see the cat lodged between a vent. Moreno says the vent was cut out and the cat was safely removed.

An employee adopted the stray.

A Park Place Lexus mechanic in 2011 extricated a red-tailed hawk from a car grille. The driver stopped to report a bird flew into the front of his car. Technicians thought the hawk was dead — until it blinked.

Family in minivan stuck under semi, towed 16 miles

A couple called 911 during a storm and described how they were trapped in their minivan as it was dragged 16 miles along Interstate 75 in northern Michigan after it became lodged beneath the rear of a tractor-trailer.

The Grand Rapids Press posted about three minutes of a call Matthew and Pamela Menz made early Jan. 7 to Roscommon County’s 911.

The couple and their two adult children were in the minivan when Matthew Menz struck the rear of the semi-truck during white-out conditions about 2 a.m.

“We ran into the back of a semi-truck and he’s not stoppin’, and our car is embedded underneath of it,” Pamela Menz told the 911 operator.

The family was unable to give their exact location for deputies trying to find the truck.

“We shouldn’t be hard to find,” said Matthew Menz, who became more concerned when it appeared the truck was picking up speed.

“If the van breaks out from underneath him, I don’t have any control of this thing,” Matthew Menz said. “Wherever your officers are I’d appreciate if they get in front of him and stop him.”

Police say the truck driver was unaware that the minivan was lodged beneath it.

Sheriff’s deputies from Crawford County eventually spotted the truck and minivan on northbound I-75 south of Grayling. The truck driver stopped when police approached and pulled into a rest area, unaware of what was happening behind him.

100-year-old leads exercise classes, checks in on Facebook

Lauretta Taggert just celebrated her 100th birthday. While that itself is a remarkable feat, this centenarian is also still teaching her exericse classes!
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ST. PAUL, Minn. – A 100-year-old exercise instructor says the secret to longevity is an attitude of gratitude.

St. Paul resident Lauretta Taggert recently celebrated her triple-digit birthday. Taggert says she doesn’t let her age slow her — she’s been an exercise instructor for the past 15 years.

She also knows you’re never too old to keep up with technology. KARE-TV reports Taggert orders new books on Amazon and connects with family and friends on Facebook.

Jana Kyser, the property manager at the senior apartment complex where Taggert lives, says there’s one more piece of wisdom she’s learned from Taggert: “Honey, don’t ever let your hair go gray.”

Virginia transportation department turns roadkill into compost

The Virginia Department of Transportation is working to turn highway carcasses into plant food.

The state agency is testing the practice of turning roadkill into compost at four sites across the state, using a special system that accelerates decomposition and suppresses odors.

The Virginian-Pilot reports the system costs $140,000 and can break down animals in as little as six weeks in concrete bins. The compost is then used to control erosion and help establish grass after construction.

Officials say roadkill collected by the agency is traditionally buried or driven to landfills at a cost of $4 million a year for disposal.

Several other states already have widespread programs to compost roadkill.

Agency’s Bigfoot post makes big imprint on social media

The Arizona Department of Transportation captured a cluster of unusual creatures on one of their highway cameras and wondered if it could be a family of Sasquatches.

PHOENIX – An Arizona agency’s posting about Bigfoot is leaving its mark on social media.

The Arizona Department of Transportation Facebook post from Jan. 1 reads: “We might have spotted a family of sasquatches on SR 260 near Heber this afternoon. What do you think?”

Accompanying it is a couple of traffic camera photos showing a blurry cluster of figures on the side of the road.

As of Tuesday, it had been shared more than 3,700 times and had nearly 1,000 comments.

Spokesman Tom Herrmann says his agency tries to drive traffic to its Twitter account using humor — a strategy that has helped them gain nearly 52,000 followers.

The mysterious figures haven’t budged in days, leading Herrmann to believe they’re something a lot more down-to-Earth than the original post suggests: shrubbery.

No pants? No problem for MetroLink riders

It is exactly what it sounds like: The No Pants Metrolink ride begins at 5:30 p.m. Jan. 10 in the St. Louis area.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that STL Improv Anywhere is orchestrating the no-pants ride that began last year when riders were encouraged to meet at a coffee shop near Forest Park.

This year, riders can board any stop before taking the train to the Pi restaurant downtown.

It might be a chilly ride. The forecast for Saturday calls for highs in the 25- to 30-degree range, with winds putting the wind-chill factor into the teens.

Man tells cops ‘everyone drives drunk’ on New Year’s Eve

A southern New Jersey man cited for drunken driving on New Year’s Eve claimed he shouldn’t be charged because it’s a time when “everyone drives drunk,” authorities say.

According to a police report, Daniel Pratts was stopped around midnight after an officer saw him go through a stop sign in Vineland.

The Daily Journal reports that Pratts performed poorly in roadside sobriety testing and was taken to police headquarters for processing. According to the police report, while there, he told another officer, “It’s New Year’s Eve, everyone drives drunk.”

Pratts also was cited for refusal to take a breath test and reckless driving.

Famous Southern California white cobra gets name: Adhira

A white monocled cobra that briefly became a national celebrity after it roamed a Southern California neighborhood for several days in September now has a new name.

The San Diego Zoo tells the Los Angeles Times that the cobra will be called Adhira, which in Hindi means “lightning.”

The Times says Adhira came in first in an online poll to find a name for the venomous cobra that was captured in Thousand Oaks and, after a period of quarantine, joined the zoo’s Reptile House.

Adhira received 4,612 votes, besting Sapheda (white), Krima (cream), Cini (Sugar), Moti (pearl) and Sundara (beautiful). Selected by the cobra’s keepers, the names were meant to reflect the Southeast Asia region where cobras are native.

The Times says the snake went on exhibit Dec. 23.

Woman plunging San Diego toilet pulls up 51/2-foot snake

Officials in San Diego are trying to sort out how a 51/2-foot snake wound up in a toilet at an office building.

Stephanie Lacsa told San Diego County authorities she noticed the water level in the toilet was higher than usual when she went to the second-floor restroom Jan. 6. When she plunged it, a snake popped up and flicked its tongue.

She ran out, taped the door shut and called Animal Services.

The department says an animal control officer found a giant Columbian rainbow boa on the floor. The snake was shedding and slightly underweight.

It was taken to an animal care facility and bit a handler.

If the owner didn’t show up by Jan. 9, the snake will go to a rescue group.

How it got in the toilet remains a mystery.

Responders pull 2 elk from frigid Colorado pond

Responders rescued two elk that fell through the ice of a pond near a Colorado resort town, but a third elk didn’t survive.

A homeowner discovered the animals in the pond near Aspen on the morning of Jan. 5. Firefighters worked with Colorado wildlife officers to cut a channel in the ice leading the shore and pull them out.

Pitkin County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Alex Burchetta says the elk were in the frigid water for at least 90 minutes, and the two survivors were very tired by the time they got out.

Temperatures were in the 20s during the rescue.

Escaped emu turns motorists’ heads running on Israel road

Israeli drivers try to safely maneuver their vehicles while a runaway emu sprints past them on a busy highway.
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Israeli traffic recently was really for the birds.

In the central Israeli town of Herzliya near Tel Aviv, an escaped emu ran through traffic Jan. 4 on a main road between cars in the rain. Local authorities say the bird escaped from a private farm.

Passer-by Iliya Zelser, 27, filmed the bird’s run. He says the experience made him feel like he was in a cartoon.

Zelser says he expected to hear the “beep beep” of the cartoon Road Runner.

He said: “I said to myself in a second, a coyote will appear from behind. This was a really absurd situation.”

Dorit Basman, the spokeswoman for the town of Herzliya, says authorities caught the emu Jan. 4 and safely returned it to its owner.

Man in profane ambush on TV reporter fined $300

An 18-year-old man who grabbed a Pennsylvania television reporter’s arm and yelled obscenities during a live broadcast has pleaded guilty to harassment.

Police say former Lackawanna College student Tyrone Parker ran up to WNEP’s Stacy Lange during the November news report and yelled a profane phrase that’s been used periodically by people ambushing television reporters over the past year.

Unflustered, Lange continued with her report about Scranton’s budget.

Parker, of Pottstown, must pay a $300 fine plus $163 in fees after pleading guilty Jan. 7. He could have faced jail time under an original charge of lying to police.

Lange says Parker has called her to apologize.

Police: Naked man broke into homes, used hot tub

Police near Salem say they arrested a naked man after he broke into two homes, drank booze and used a hot tub at one of them.

Officers received a 911 call early Jan. 4 from a woman who was house-sitting in Keizer when she was awakened by noises coming from the laundry room.

As she went to check it out, the laundry room door slammed, so she grabbed a knife and called police and her husband.

Police found the burglar inside, naked, and arrested him without incident. Investigators determined that he climbed in through a back window after removing a screen.

They also noticed that screens had been removed from windows at a neighbor’s home. Police say the suspect had burglarized that home, drinking the homeowner’s alcohol and using the hot tub and shower.

San Francisco Bay Area man gets ring back 35 years later

A San Francisco Bay Area man who lost a ring while surfing in the ocean 35 years ago had it returned to him by a treasure hunter.

Robert Fowler was 17 when he was surfing off a Marin County beach and his gold high school class ring slipped off his finger.

He didn’t think he’d see the ring again.

Larry Feurzeig finds a few hundred dollars in coins each year, along with plenty of beer cans.

Two weeks ago, he found the ring — which bore the initials of Fowler and a Marin County high school — engraved inside. Through alumni records, Feurzeig found Fowler and emailed him to meet Jan. 7 in front of a San Francisco grocery store. Fowler got his ring back. Feurzeig got a bottle of champagne.

Police: Florida man attempted burglary while carrying infant

A Florida man carrying his 5-month-old son acted as a lookout while his friend tried to break into a house, then threatened the owner of the home with a knife, police say.

St. Petersburg Police said a homeowner found Corey Mathews, 22, outside his home Jan. 5, holding a baby in a car carrier.

Police say that when Mathews spotted the homeowner, he alerted another suspect attempting to break into the home. The other suspect fled, and the homeowner called 911 as he followed Mathews. Mathews then pulled out a knife and threatened to kill the man if he kept following him.

Mathews was held Tuesday on $15,000 bond on burglary and other charges. Pinellas County jail records didn’t show whether he had an attorney.

Police say Mathews’ mother took custody of the baby.

Malaysians in FBI case banned from poker in Las Vegas

A Malaysian businessman and his son can’t play poker at Las Vegas casinos while they await a ruling on whether the FBI illegally entered their hotel suites to investigate what prosecutors say was a $13 million illegal Internet gambling ring, a judge has ruled.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Carl Hoffman said Jan. 8 he won’t lift an order for Wei Seng “Paul” Phua and his son, Darren Wai Kit Phua, not to gamble while they’re free on a combined $2.5 million bail.

Hoffman rejected defense lawyers’ arguments that poker poses no risk, and their assurances that the Phuas wouldn’t flee the country.

Magistrate Judge Peggy Leen is expected to decide soon whether undercover investigators illegally searched several Caesars Palace suites.

Defense attorneys want the evidence that was obtained and the case against the Phuas thrown out.

List: Please save ‘knavery,’ ‘flapdoodle’ and ‘rapscallion’

As a new year dawns, a Detroit university wants to bring worthy words back from the brink.

Knavery, you say? Well the word for “a roguish or mischievous act” is among 10 phrases that comprise Wayne State University’s annual Word Warriors list.

The 2015 edition of words worth reviving was released Jan. 5. It also includes “caterwaul,” which means a shrill or wailing noise; “rapscallion,” meaning a mischievous person; and “flapdoodle,” or nonsense.

While this list giveth back to culture, another taketh away. Word Warriors comes days after Sault Ste. Marie’s Lake Superior State University released its List of Words Banished from the Queen’s English for Misuse, Overuse and General Uselessness.

That list seeks to scrap a dirty dozen, including “bae,” “foodie,” and “hack.”

Both universities accept nominations online.

Good news for gamers: Video scholarships at Kentucky college

A private liberal arts college in Kentucky says it will make video games an official sport and start offering scholarships to gamers in the fall.

The move makes the University of Pikeville one of only a few schools in the nation to provide scholarships to those who play “League of Legends,” a multiplayer online battle arena game, according to WYMT-TV.

“It’s actually becoming a worldwide trend,” said Bruce Parsons, Pikeville’s new media director. “This game is five-on-five competitive play. It takes skill, practice and a lot of teamwork.”

Parsons said the school is dedicated to providing different types of technology to its students.

“I think there are going to be a lot of students, both nationwide and international, who are going to look at our university who wouldn’t have before,” Parsons said of Pikeville, a small school.

Graduate Eric VanHoose said he is ready to coach the game, which he described as players competing “to try and get to the other person’s base.”

Pikeville plans will offer 20 scholarships when it begins “League of Legends” competition play in the fall.

“It will be a regime a lot like athletics,” Parsons said. “They’ll have to have a certain GPA. We’ll look at them like student athletes. There will be practice time and video time when they have to study other teams for upcoming competitions.”

At least one other school — Robert Morris University in Chicago — has made the game an official sport and offers scholarships.

Woman sues over use of her school photo on novelty flask

A New Mexico woman is suing a novelty products maker over a flask that includes her likeness and the phrase, “I’m going to be the most popular girl in rehab.”

The Santa Fe New Mexican reports Veronica Vigil alleges in her in federal court that Anne Taintor Inc. obtained and used her high school graduation picture from 1970 without her permission.

The lawsuit says the Brooklyn, New York, company then defamed Vigil by linking her image to a product that makes light of substance abuse.

Court documents say the Chimayo, New Mexico, resident is an active church member and doesn’t consume alcohol or drugs.

The lawsuit seeks an unspecified amount of compensatory and punitive damages.

A spokeswoman for Anne Taintor Inc. said the company does not comment on pending litigation.

Compiled by Paul H. Rowe

Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Article source: http://www.desmoinesregister.com/story/news/2015/01/11/odd-news-old-penny/21602141/

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