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AM-Prep: Kickers

October 9, 2018


DENTS RUN, Pa. (AP) — A father-son pair of treasure hunters are challenging the FBI’s position that nothing was found during an excavation aimed at uncovering a fabled cache of Civil War-era gold and solving a century-old mystery.

Dennis and Kem Parada led the FBI to the mountainous area last March to dig for the gold. The FBI says the dig was a bust. The Paradas, backed by neighbors who reported suspicious activity around the site, contend the FBI isn’t telling the whole story.

The duo spent years combing a portion of a Pennsylvania wilderness with high-end metal detectors, drills and other tools to prospect for a fabled cache of Civil War gold. They felt certain they’d discovered the hiding place of the long-lost booty, leading the FBI to the mountainous, heavily wooded area last March.

The FBI says the excavation came up empty but neighbors’ accounts of late-night excavation and FBI convoys have fueled suspicions that the agency isn’t telling the whole truth. The Paradas are insisting that something had to have been buried in the woods near Dents Run, about 135 miles (220 kilometers) northeast of Pittsburgh.

The FBI declined further comment, and a bureau spokeswoman told the AP last week that court documents related to the dig are sealed.

As the story goes, around the time of the 1863 Battle of Gettysburg, the Union Army sent a shipment of gold from Wheeling, West Virginia, to Philadelphia. The wagon train took a circuitous route through the wilds of northern Pennsylvania so as to avoid Confederate troops. Along the way, the gold was either lost or stolen.


AUBURN, Maine (AP) — A vintage commercial airplane is set to undertake a long, slow journey from Maine to New York where it will be turned into a cocktail lounge.

The long trip ahead of the Lockheed Constellation, known as the “Connie,” kicked off Monday at a send-off event Auburn-Lewiston Airport in Maine. The plane will depart Tuesday morning and make its way over the next several days to JFK in New York on a tow truck.

Once in New York, the L-1649A Starliner will serve as the cocktail lounge outside TWA Hotel, a hotel that promises to bring back “the magic of the Jet Age.”

A spokeswoman for TWA Hotel says the plane, built in 1956 and in service starting in 1958, does not fly anymore.

Tyler Morse, CEO of New York-based hotel owner and operator MCR and Morse Development said the plane flew for Trans World Airlines for three years before flying around the Alaskan wilderness as a bush pilot plane.

By the 1970s, the plane had become a drug-running plane in South America. Morse said “It had giant cargo doors to fly pallets of marijuana around South America.”

The plane was later abandoned in Honduras and brought to Florida in the 80s. An aircraft enthusiast had it flown out to Maine with hopes of restoring it, but ran out of money.

The rare airliner will end up inside the New York airport, next to terminal 5.


HALF MOON BAY, Calif. (AP) — A commercial pilot from Oregon says “one special seed” and months of care produced a massive pumpkin that tipped the scales at a contest in Northern California at over a ton.

Steve Daletas also credited lots of sunny days for his 2,170-pound pumpkin. It won the 45th World Championship Pumpkin Weigh-Off on Monday in Half Moon Bay, California. It was the second-heaviest pumpkin ever weighed at the 40-year-old event.

Steve Daletas of Pleasant Hill, Oregon, also credited lots of sunny days since he planted eight seeds on April 15 hoping to win the 45th World Championship Pumpkin Weigh-Off in Half Moon Bay, south of San Francisco.

The record for heaviest pumpkin in the world was set last year at a competition in Europe. A Belgium grower’s winning whopper came in at just over 2,600 pounds (1,179 kilograms).

Daletas, 58, needed a backhoe to place his massive pumpkin on a pickup truck for the drive to California. He said he strapped it down and drove “below the speed limit” for 12 hours to get to the contest.

A crowd, including dogs and babies in pumpkin costumes, watched massive pumpkins getting weighed on a warm, sunny day as a marching band played Halloween music.

The fourth-time pumpkin champ won $15,190, or $7 per pound.

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