This week in odd news: Toupee trouble; shoplift near cops?
BY RICHARD A. SOMMA
Dec. 22, 2017
NEW YORK (AP) — A New York City man who says he has a fear of the Tasmanian Devil claims his father-in-law repeatedly scared him with a toupee that looks like the cartoon character.
The New York Post reports Yunes Doleh was arrested in November for violating a restraining order filed by his son-in-law, Mazen Dayem. The 36-year-old says Doleh terrorized him at a funeral by waving the hair piece and snarling.
The Staten Island man says he's had a fear of the Tasmanian Devil his entire life. Dayem claims his father-in-law has taken advantage of his phobia since 2013. Dayem filed a restraining order in September following an altercation with Doleh at a restaurant.
An attorney for Doleh labeled the case a "family dispute."
Doleh faces charges of criminal contempt and aggravated harassment.
SEDALIA, Mo. (AP) — A Missouri city has unveiled a Christmas stocking it hopes will make the cut for the world's largest.
Sedalia's red-and-white stocking was officially measured Tuesday as 177 feet tall for entry to Guinness World Records, the Sedalia Democrat reported . The city is trying to beat a record set by the Italian city of Carrara in 2011.
The Missouri city's stocking is almost 10 feet longer. It's so large that with a few more inches, it would not have fit in the Missouri State Fair arena, where it was unveiled. It's 72 feet wide and weighs a whopping 820 pounds.
It's so tall that Sedalia doesn't have a building that's high enough to hang it from, Mayor Stephen Galliher said.
Sedalia radio show host Charlie Thomas came up with the idea for the giant stocking as a way to promote Community Santa, a local program that gives presents to children during the holidays. He expects verification of the record to take about 12 weeks.
Members of a church sewing group started working on the stocking in early October. About two dozen children helped unroll the stocking for its unveiling, which drew applause from a crowd of roughly 200 people as Christmas music blasted in the arena.
The stocking also drew praise from U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill of Missouri, who called it a "Christmas miracle."
"Sedalia's tight-knit community and its abundance of Christmas spirit has made Missouri quite proud of this massive holiday feat," McCaskill said in a written statement.
FRAMINGHAM, Mass. (AP) — A homeless woman has been accused of trying to steal more than $1,000 in goods from a Massachusetts Target store during a Shop with a Cop holiday event attended by dozens of police officers.
The Boston Globe reports Melissa Allen was stopped as she tried to leave the store with the unpaid merchandise Tuesday. There were more than 50 Framingham police officers in the store as part of a charity event for children sponsored by their department.
Police say Allen had a bin filled with items she tried to steal, including clothing, accessories and home goods.
Allen was charged with larceny over $250 and resisting arrest. She was arraigned Wednesday.
WBZ-TV reports Allen's lawyer said she's living with a friend, has no money and wants to go to rehab.
WORCESTER, Mass. (AP) — Massachusetts marijuana aficionados have rolled a 100-foot-long joint.
The effort was led by Boston-based cannabis club and advocacy group Beantown Greentown during an exhibition of pro-marijuana vendors and supporters at the DCU Center in Worcester on Saturday.
They perfected a secret rolling technique using 1,000 grams (35.27 ounces) of their own pot trimmings.
The Telegram & Gazette reports that people crowded around to take selfies when the final product was displayed Saturday. Thousands of people attended the exhibition.
The newspaper says 55-year-old Denise Fournier, of Gardner, Massachusetts, asked the question on everybody's mind: "When are you going to light it up?"
Massachusetts last year voted to legalize the possession and consumption of marijuana. A Cannabis Control Commission is writing regulations to govern the sale of cannabis.
YORK, Neb. (AP) — An elderly couple who was arrested in Nebraska with 60 pounds of marijuana in their truck told officers that the drugs were meant to be Christmas presents.
The York News-Times reports the couple were arrested Tuesday by the York County Sheriff's Department after they were stopped for a traffic violation.
Officers found the bags of marijuana in the Toyota Tacoma driven by the 80-year-old man and 83-year-old woman. They said they were driving from California to Vermont.
The couple was being held in York County jail on suspicion of felony drug charges.
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (AP) — A Colorado man landed in jail after offering to trade illegal homegrown marijuana for an SUV listed on Craigslist — a vehicle that happened to be owned by a sheriff.
The Gazette reports that Teller County Sheriff Jason Mikesell recently received a text from a 39-year-old Vail man offering to buy his SUV.
The man sent photos of the product, and Mikesell says he showed the texts to detectives. A meet up was scheduled in Woodland Park in late November.
The man and a 41-year-old woman arrived for the swap and were arrested. Authorities say they found about 4 pounds of illegal marijuana in the duo's car.
The man and woman were charged with possession with intent to sell.
Mikesell says he won't relist the SUV on Craigslist.
KETTERING, Ohio (AP) — Saying their son's teachers deserve more than a coffee mug for Christmas, an Ohio couple decided to give them bottles of wine with the child's picture on the label.
Beavercreek resident Mary Sommers tells the Dayton Daily News she doubted the teachers needed any more mugs, but, she joked, "who doesn't need a glass of wine after teaching a kid like mine?"
She and her husband, Paul, gave the wine to the teachers at their son Jake's school in Kettering. In addition to a picture of Jake's smiling face, the labels carry a message that says, "Our child might be the reason you drink so enjoy this bottle on us!"
The gifts drew widespread attention after the couple's older son posted about them on Twitter .
READING, Pa. (AP) — Authorities say a Pennsylvania woman stabbed her roommate during a dispute over candy.
Police in Reading say charges against 54-year-old Tracy Mitchell include aggravated assault and reckless endangerment.
According to a police affidavit, the victim claims Mitchell was holding a pocket knife in one hand and a picture frame in the other as they argued in their apartment early Monday morning. She says Mitchell tried to strike her with the picture frame as they both fell to the floor.
The woman says she tried to hold Mitchell on the ground, but Mitchell stabbed her once in the leg. Mitchell left the apartment shortly afterward.
The Reading Eagle reported Mitchell was taken to prison on $1,000 bail. It was unclear Tuesday if she had retained an attorney.
WILMINGTON, N.C. (AP) — North Carolina environmental officials are trying to discover the cause of a cat urine smell in a coastal city where residents say the odor is overwhelming on some days.
The StarNews of Wilmington reports more than a dozen residents alerted the state Department of Environmental Quality on Nov. 25 because the smell was so bad.
DEQ officials are investigating several industries as a source. Brad Newland of the state Division of Air Quality's office in Wilmington says it's possible that all those industries are causing the smell.
The odor isn't new. Newland was part of a team that studied it in the 1990s.
Residents should call to report smells. Newland says investigators should be alerted immediately because it's difficult to find a cause once the odor has dissipated.
ARGYLE, N.Y. (AP) — Residents of a rural upstate New York town have found the source of a powerful stench plaguing them this fall: hundreds of pounds of rotting moose meat dumped along a road.
The Post-Star of Glens Falls reports someone had discarded parts of a moose carcass over an embankment in the town of Argyle, near the Vermont border, 40 miles northeast of Albany.
Residents found a moose's head, hoofs, pelt and other parts strewn around the area.
State Department of Environmental Conservation officers investigated and determined the remains were dumped by an Argyle man who had legally shot a 665-pound bull moose in northern Vermont earlier this fall during the state's moose hunting season.
The department ticketed him for unlawful disposal of solid waste.
BYRAM, Miss. (AP) — A 5-year-old Mississippi boy called 911 to report that the Grinch was trying to steal Christmas.
The Clarion Ledger reports that it happened Saturday in the Jackson suburb of Byram. An officer went to TyLon Pittman's home to assure him that the green creature wouldn't take anyone's gifts.
TyLon had been watching videos online when he became alarmed about the Grinch. He told his mom, Teresa Pittman, that he dialed 911, but she says she didn't quite believe him until an officer knocked on the door.
The officer, Lauren Develle, says she grew up loving the character created by children's author Dr. Seuss.
TyLon says has a plan in case the Grinch does appear: he says he will wrestle him and hold him until the police show up.
WATERTOWN, Mass. (AP) — A Massachusetts grocery store employee has surprised shoppers with his operatic renditions of popular Christmas music.
Tony Russo, owner of Russo's Market in Watertown, tells The Boston Globe he had no idea Guilherme Assuncao could sing when the 23-year-old volunteered to sound check equipment Friday night for an upcoming weekend performance.
His voice shocked his co-workers, and Assuncao was invited back to the stage to perform for shoppers. One woman who visited the store Saturday says everyone stopped what they were doing when they heard Assuncao sing.
One video of him performing "O Holy Night" has since garnered more than 56,000 views on Facebook.
Assuncao moved from Brazil to the U.S. in 2015 to attend school. While he hasn't performed in years, Assuncao says "music is my life."
ROME (AP) — Rome's official Christmas tree is shedding needles so quickly it has become a jolly joke for city residents.
The 21-meter- (70-foot-) high tree, which was lit up on Dec. 8, started dropping needles at a fast clip as soon as it was hoisted into the middle of bustling Rome's main square, Piazza Venezia.
Romans have dubbed the tree "The Mangy One." They're also needling Rome's mayor about the forlorn-looking specimen, which cost 48,000 euros ($57,000) to transport from South Tyrol, an Italian Alpine region.
The city said Tuesday it is investigating why the tree is ailing.
Despite the tree's 600 silver-colored decorative balls, the half-bare branches lend the square a forlorn rather than festive look.
Critics note that across town, the Vatican's Christmas tree, from Poland, appears healthy.
DALLAS (AP) — A former NBA player has taken to Twitter to complain that a toilet was among the items stolen from his Dallas home during a burglary.
Thirty-three-year-old Charlie Villanueva, a former first-round pick who most recently played with the Dallas Mavericks, posted a photo of the space in his bathroom where his toilet once stood.
In a series of sometimes potty-mouthed tweets , Villanueva says his home appliances also were taken during the burglary Tuesday.
The former Detroit Piston described the episode as "mind blowing," saying he's "in shock."
Villanueva criticized police for a slow response to his burglary report, saying he called four times about the purloined toilet.
Another Twitter user created the handle "Stolen Toilet" and responded to one of his tweets by asking: "Charlie are u looking for me?"
KEY LARGO, Fla. (AP) — After a four-year courtship, a British Army sergeant and a former diving instructor have married underwater in the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary.
The couple used an underwater tablet Thursday to exchange wedding vows beside Molasses Reef off Key Largo.
In 2013, Thomas Mould, of Leicester, England, traveled on an Army adventure training dive trip to the Amoray Dive Resort in the Keys, where Sandra Hyde worked as an instructor.
The couple connected. Hyde traveled to Leicester a few times, and he visited her in the states.
They decided to marry and planned a summer wedding in an old English church but then decided an underwater wedding in the Keys would not only be more appropriate, but more cost-effective.
The couple is honeymooning in the Keys, before returning to live in England.
SCOTLAND, Conn. (AP) — Residents of the rural town of Scotland, Connecticut, are becoming lords and ladies in the United Kingdom country of the same name.
The Scottish land preservation company Highland Titles said Tuesday it's gifting all 1,694 residents 1 square foot (0.09 square meters) of land on its nature reserve in Glencoe Wood, Scotland. The residents will get courtesy titles of Lord or Lady of Glencoe and instructions on how to visit their plots.
The company sells forest land ranging from 1 square foot (0.09 square meters) to 1,000 square feet (93 square meters) so they can't be developed.
Scotland First Selectman Dan Syme says the Connecticut town was settled by a Scotsman named Isaac Magoon in 1700 and celebrates that heritage by hosting an annual Highland Festival.
Highland Titles says residents have to call Town Hall to claim their free plots.
HOPEWELL TOWNSHIP, N.J. (AP) — A New Jersey police officer crawled across a partially frozen pond to save a dog that had fallen through the ice and couldn't crawl out.
Hopewell Officer Robert Voorhees made the rescue Friday night. It was recorded by an officer's body camera.
Voorhees fastened himself to a rope and made his way to the edge of the pond. The dog, named Nisel, swam toward the officer who grabbed her by the collar.
Voorhees and the dog were then pulled to safety by other officers. The animal wasn't seriously injured. She warmed up and reunited with her owner, who repeatedly thanked and hugged the officer.
POUGHKEEPSIE, N.Y. (AP) — The shoulder-shrugging reply "whatever" continues to annoy Americans more than other words or phrases, but "fake news" is coming on strong.
The annual Marist College poll of most annoying words and phrases found "whatever" topping the list for the ninth straight year. It was the pick of one third of poll respondents, who were given five choices.
The recent addition "fake news" was slightly ahead of "no offense, but" for second place, 23 percent to 20 percent. About one in 10 found "literally" to be most grating, as did a similar number for "you know what I mean."
The telephone survey of 1,074 adults conducted Nov. 6-9 has a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percentage points.
CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — Most golfers like short par 3s, but West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice probably wishes No. 18 at the Greenbrier Classic in 2015 was a little longer — 33 yards longer to be exact.
In 2015, Justice's charity promised fans at the 18th hole $100 for the first hole-in-one and $500 for the second in 2015. Professionals George McNeill and Justin Thomas aced the 137-yard hole, forcing the charity to give almost $200,000 to fans around the green.
The charity took out an insurance policy on the payouts, but a federal appeals court says the policy only covered holes at least 170 yards long.
Old White Charities Inc. accused the insurer of breach of contract for not covering the payout, but the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals rejected that claim.