LAKE VIEW, N.Y. (AP) — An upstate New York couple may have finally solved the mystery of who’s been tossing used coffee cups in their front yard for nearly three years.
Edward and Cheryl Patton told The Buffalo News they tried mounting a camera in a tree in front of their home in Lake View to catch the phantom litterer. But it wasn’t until some neighbors got involved recently and followed a minivan and jotted down its license plate number that there was a break in the case.
After Edward Patton called police, they waited and pulled over a vehicle driven by 76-year-old Larry Pope, who Cheryl Patton said had once worked with her and had had disagreements with her over union issues.
Pope was charged with harassment and ticketed for throwing refuse onto a roadway.
“I found it very hard to believe that someone I knew would do something like that, especially at his age,” Cheryl Patton told The News.
The Pattons said the littering has stopped since Pope was pulled over.
A message was left at a phone number listed for Pope on Sunday.
SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — The 300-million-year-old shark’s teeth were the first sign that it might be a distinct species.
The ancient chompers looked less like the spear-like rows of teeth of related species. They were squatter and shorter, less than an inch long, around 2 centimeters.
“Great for grasping and crushing prey rather than piercing prey,” said discoverer John-Paul Hodnett, who was a graduate student when he unearthed the first fossils of the shark at a dig east of Albuquerque in 2013.
This week, Hodnett and a slew of other researchers published their findings in a bulletin of the New Mexico Museum of Natural History & Science identifying the shark as a separate species.
He named the 6.7-foot (2 meter) monster Dracopristis hoffmanorum, or Hoffman’s Dragon Shark, in honor of the New Mexico family that owns the land in the Manzano Mountains where the fossils were found. Hodnett says the area is rife with fossils and easy to access because of a quarry and other commercial digging operations.
The name also harkens to the dragon-like jawline and 2.5-foot (0.75-meter) fin spines that inspired the discovery’s initial nickname, “Godzilla Shark.”
The formal naming announcement followed seven years of excavation, preservation and study.
The 12 rows of teeth on the shark’s lower jaw, for example, were still obscured by layers of sediment after excavation. Hodnett only saw them by using an angled light technique that illuminates objects below.
Hodnett is now the paleontologist and program coordinator for the Maryland-National Capital Parks and Planning Commission’s Dinosaur Park in Laurel, Maryland. His fellow researchers come from the New Mexico museum, as well as St. Joseph’s University in Pennsylvania, Northern Arizona University, and Idaho State University.
The recovered fossil skeleton is considered the most complete of its evolutionary branch —ctenacanth — that split from modern sharks and rays around 390 million years ago and went extinct around 60 million years later.
Back then, eastern New Mexico was covered by a seaway that extended deep into North America. Hodnett and his colleagues believe that Hoffman’s dragon shark most likely lived in the shallows along the coast, stalking prey like crustaceans, fish and other sharks.
New Mexico’s high desert plateaus have also yielded many dinosaur fossils, including various species of tyrannosaurus that roamed the land millions of years ago when it was a tropical rain forest.
April 19 (UPI) — A home for sale in New Mexico is gaining attention online after the current owner spent 21 years filling the interior with spaceship-inspired decor.
Marten Griego said he wasn’t satisfied with the paint job he was doing on the Albuquerque home when he first moved in two decades ago, so he redesigned a wall and fireplace after an imagined spaceship.
“It’s kind of like the edge of a cave. I thought of myself in the universe some place on another asteroid or something,” he told KOB-TV.
Griego said he then spent the ensuing years filling the home with 3D murals and other space-inspired decorations, including a high-tech kitchen.
“I would think that people are fascinated with something new. Something created by somebody that they’ve never seen before — and once again, when I was building it I didn’t even know what I was creating,” Griego said.
The house is being listed by Jonathan Ortiz and Alexandria Oberbeck of Southwest Elite Realty.
Ortiz said entering the house is akin to “walking into a museum.”
The real estate agents said there already has been interest in the home.
“So we actually have someone right now who wants to buy it as it. Furniture and all. They just love everything about it,” Oberbeck said.
MANSFIELD, Conn. (AP) — A Connecticut middle school teacher who raised $41,000 to help hundreds of his struggling neighbors during the COVID-19 pandemic got an unwelcome surprise for his charitable efforts: a form stating he could owe $16,031 in income taxes.
Louis Goffinet, 27, of Mansfield, began picking up groceries for elderly neighbors afraid to go to the store during the early days of the pandemic, often spending his own money. Given the great need, he later organized two fundraisers on Facebook over a year and helped hundreds of families with groceries, rent money and holiday gifts, the Hartford Courant reported, setting a $200 limit.
Goffinet said both financial support for his efforts and demand for assistance ended up becoming higher than he first expected. He tracked 140 grocery trips on a spreadsheet, noting he also provided Friday night dinners to 125 families, holiday gift cards for 20 families so they could buy gifts for their children, 31 Thanksgiving dinners and rental assistance to five families. Some local businesses donated food.
“It became dramatically bigger than I thought,” he said. “My original goal was to raise $200 to help one family with groceries. I was already doubting myself when I set that up, that people in town are not going to want to pay for someone else’s groceries.”
In January, Facebook sent Goffinet a 1099 form that stated he owed taxes on the money he had raised. Facebook warns users that money generated from a fundraiser on the social media platform may be taxable if more than $20,000 is raised and that a 1099 tax form will be issued.
“I was so shocked,” Goffinet told the Courant. “When I think about the mental spot I was in at the end of January, coming off a second fundraiser that was quite a lot of work — busy weekends coordinating Thanksgiving, holiday gifts — to get what I perceived as a bill in the mail for $16,000 was just shocking.’′
Goffinet is now working with a local accountant to determine how best to handle the situation. His bill is due May 17 and he expects to pay “some sort of tax burden” but isn’t sure exactly how much. Meanwhile, some people in the community are now trying to help him out with the tax bill, so far sending $2,000 in checks to a post office box — not through Facebook.
BURLINGTON, Vt. (AP) — Vermont’s largest city is banning the use of loud, gas-powered leaf blowers.
The City Council passed a phased-in ban this week, the Burlington Free Press reported. It mandates moving to quieter electric-powered leaf blowers, which will be required for all municipal departments in August.
All businesses and Burlington residents will be required to comply by the end of May 2022.
Gas-powered blowers operate at 90 decibels, which can cause hearing damage after two hours of exposure, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. And gas engines contribute to air pollution in residential neighborhoods.
The ordinance restricts the noise of electric leaf blowers to 65 decibels, which, according to the CDC, is about as loud as a typical washing machine, the newspaper reported.
The restrictions for businesses or landowners that service 10 or more city properties go into effect on Sept. 6. The rules take effect on Dec. 31 for smaller businesses.
April 19 (UPI) — A high school in Britain said a former student mailed in an overdue library book that was originally supposed to have been returned 32 years earlier.
St. John Fisher Catholic High School in Peterborough, England, said a book called Manners Make a Difference arrived in the mail recently and officials soon discovered it had last been checked out from the school library 32 years earlier.
The book was accompanied by a note reading: “Sorry! Just 32 years overdue! Call it Catholic guilt.”
The book, published in 1954, offers advice on how to behave at school, in church and other social situations.
Rosie Roe, the school’s chief of administration, was the one who opened the package and identified its contents.
“It was a real surprise when I opened it and saw what was inside, I thought it’s a real shame they didn’t leave a name because I was at the school at that time and wonder if I know them,” Roe told the Peterborough Telegraph.
School officials calculated the book would have accrued about $1,163 in late fees, but they don’t intend to try to collect any money for the tardy tome.
Officials said the book is now considered outdated and will not be returned to circulation, instead going on display in the school’s study center.
April 19 (UPI) — Police in Ireland said a lost lamb found wandering loose in a roadway spent the night in a jail cell before being reunited with its owners.
The Garda, Ireland’s national police force, said officers were called to a street in Clonmel, Tipperary, where drivers reported seeing a lamb wandering solo in the road.
The lamb was rounded up and the Garda tweeted photos of the animal spending the night in a jail cell while officers worked to identify its owners.
Police said the lamb was returned to its owner the next morning.
“This little fella was found over the weekend by Gardai in Clonmel after he became separated from his flock,” the Garda tweeted. “Many thanks to the person who phoned this in after locating him on the road. He was cared for overnight and returned to his grateful owner yesterday morning.”
April 17 (UPI) — The Philippine Coast Guard seized more than 200 tons of fossilized clam shells worth nearly $25 million this week in a joint law enforcement operation.
A Facebook post from the agency said four suspects were arrested Friday in the Palawan province and accused of violating the Philippine Wildlife Resources Conservation and Protection Act.
The act prohibits exploiting wildlife resources and their habitats, including trading the wildlife for the purposes of collection, CNN reported.
The PCG said this was the biggest illegal giant clam shell haul in the region’s history to date.
The suspects are Rey Cuyos, 54; Rodolfo Rabesa, 48; Julius Molejoa, 47; and Erwin Miagao, 40. According to the PCG, they have been brought before the Palawan Council for Sustainable Development for inquest proceedings.
The Coast Guard Intelligence Group Palawan, Coast Guard District Palawan, PCSD, PNP – Maritime Group Palawan, AFP Intelligence Operatives, and Bantay Dagat Roxas all participated in the operation to arrest the suspects.
COLLEGE STATION, Texas — A College Station man has been charged after officers spent hours searching for him after he claimed to have been kidnapped.
Vincent Oggero, 19, of College Station, is charged with making a false police report. He allegedly told police it was all just a prank that he did with his friends.
It happened on February 11. Officers were called to a restaurant in the Northgate District after the staff found a receipt with the phrase “I NEED HELP I Got Kidnapped” and a phone number. Police officers checked the name on the credit card receipt, as well as the other names on the receipts of those at the same table. Police said staff told them the table had left about 10 minutes earlier.
Authorities said surveillance video of the group showed that nothing appeared to be wrong. About an hour into the investigation, officers said they were able to track down the address of one member of the group to a townhome complex on Holleman Drive. More investigators went to the address and confirmed with people living there that the person at the table had just left with Oggero, who also lived in the complex.
When officers got to Oggero’s home, people there told them he was at another person’s home, also in the complex. Officers went to that home and found a large group of people gathered and asked to speak to Oggero.
According to investigators, Oggero apologized for what he wrote on the receipt. He allegedly told them he had done it on his friend’s receipt just to “prank” him and police say he indicated he knew officers would respond.
Oggero was formally arrested and charged on April 16. He has posted a $5,000 bond and has since been released.
ARLINGTON, Va., April 19, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — Are you feeling burnt out from the never-ending list of personal and professional responsibilities that feel inescapable these days? If so, this is the break for you. Chameleon Organic Coffee, the brand best known for its consciously crafted cold brew, announced they’ll pay two people $3,000 each to simply take more breaks. And, of course, the cash will come with a stash of Chameleon Cold-Brew.
Chameleon wants to provide the buzz needed to perk up your day – something that many people are craving now more than ever. In fact, since the start of the pandemic, 63 percent of at-home workers say they are taking either less or the same number of coffee breaks – even though they are working longer hours.
“We wanted to remind those at home to take coffee breaks the way they’re meant to be taken – often,” said Leo Aizpuru, Director of Brand Marketing for Chameleon Organic Coffee. “Finding work-life balance has been very challenging this year, so our goal is to encourage people to step away from their to-do lists for a few more minutes each day to get the boost they need.”
How do you win the ultimate coffee break? Literally just commit to taking more breaks. To enter, visit the ultimate coffee break website between 8:30 a.m. ET on Monday, April 19 and 11:59 p.m. ET on Monday, May 31 – and fill out the entry form. Then sit back and take your break.*
*No purchase necessary. Open to 18+, resident of 50 US & DC. Void where prohibited.
Chameleon Organic Coffee will also bring ultimate coffee breaks to select cities nationwide over the summer. Follow our Instagram, @ChameleonCoffee, for more information, and be sure to check grocery stores, Instacart and mass retailers nationwide for Chameleon Organic Coffee to help perk up your break.
This year, the brand has taken their expertise in crafting premium coffee to the next level by extending beyond the beloved cold-brew category into whole beans and grounds.