OYSTER EATING CHAMP
NEW ORLEANS (AP) — A Virginia man has slurped down 40 dozen oysters to claim victory at this year’s World Oyster Eating Championship in New Orleans. NOLA.com/The Times-Picayune reports Darron Breeden ate 480 of the bivalves in eight minutes in Sunday’s Oyster Festival event. About 4,000 south Louisiana oysters were prepared and shuttled tray by tray to a table laden with hot sauce, beer and other drinks. The seven contestants hunched over the checked tabletop as judges in striped shirts kept careful count, turning over a new number with each dozen consumed. As time ran out, Breeden stretched his stomach, which would soon be encircled by the oyster-festooned championship belt.
EAST PALESTINE, Ohio (AP) — A 91-year-old Ohio man’s passion for puzzles has gained him an unexpected Facebook following. David Butler, a resident of East Palestine in eastern Ohio, started working jigsaw puzzles last year when his daughter, Cindy Fletcher, brought him a couple puzzles for his birthday. Fletcher soon discovered her father was flying through the puzzles. Butler tells WFMJ-TV he completes a 1,000-piece puzzle in about three days, but does many in two days or even one. Butler says he’s put together about 80 puzzles in the past six months, and prefers the activity to sitting around watching TV. He and his daughter hope to sell the finished puzzles to buy first aid kits for East Palestine Schools. As Butler’s fame spreads on Facebook, people have started sending him puzzles to complete.
GRADUATE’S SURPRISE WALK
RAVENNA, Ohio (AP) — An Ohio teenager who has cerebral palsy and was never expected to be able to walk has shocked her family by doing just that at her high school graduation. The Kent-Ravenna Record-Courier reports 19-year-old Lexi Wright left her wheelchair and used a walker to cross a stage in her cap and gown to accept her diploma at the Ravenna High School ceremony last week. Her mother, Dede, says seeing her daughter walk for the first time as the audience gave her a standing ovation left her crying so much that she couldn’t even cheer. Principal Beth Coleman says Wright had been practicing all year. The teen says she simply wanted to surprise her family and was stunned by the crowd’s reaction. She says she plans to keep working on walking.
MANCHESTER, N.H. (AP) — Residents of a New Hampshire city banded together to buy a new bike for a U.S. Army veteran whose bike was stolen on Memorial Day. WMUR-TV reports Curt Payne was able to buy a brand new bike on Saturday after fundraising by Manchester residents. Payne says he sees he has “really solid people in my life.” The original bike had been given to Payne by the Manchester Police Patrolman’s Association, and it had a special sticker for his late son, Bryan. After the theft, support poured in from the community to help Payne pay for a new bike. The veteran is a familiar figure in the city, often picking up trash around Manchester. Payne says he hopes to open a bike donation center for troubled youth one day.
UNDATED (AP) —Cora’s had a harrowing experience. Cora is a sheep that was stranded on a jagged cliff for four days in England. She had fallen about 250 feet to the perch. The resourceful animal, nicknamed Lucky, was spotted balancing on a ledge on the north Cornwall coast last week - but waters below were too choppy for humans to rescue her. Finally, though, after four days, weather conditions eased up enough for two fellows who run wildlife-spotting expeditions along the coastline to get the boat close to the cliff to save the sheep.
BLACK BEAR-TRAIN STATION
COLLEGE PARK, Ga. (AP) — Georgia wildlife officials say a black bear was sighted at an Atlanta area train station. A Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority spokeswoman told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution the sighting took place at approximately 6:15 a.m. Monday at the College Park MARTA station. She said no passengers were in danger. Georgia Department of Natural Resources spokeswoman Melissa Cummings said the bear was tranquilized and transported to northeast Georgia, a region where black bears are native. She said it’s not uncommon for young male bears to be seen outside of the region during the spring when they are looking to establish their own territory. Cummings said the bear was likely the same one that was spotted Friday morning outside the Fulton County jail.