This week in odd news: Expensive mistake and meatball theft

FLORIDA PYTHON DEVOURS DEER THAT WEIGHS NEARLY 4 LBS. MORENAPLES, Fla. (AP) — Researchers studying invasive Burmese pythons in Florida came upon something they'd never seen before: an 11-foot-long python had consumed an entire deer that weighed more than the snake itself.The wildlife biologists tracking the slithery creatures stumbled upon bloated snake in Collier Seminole State Park, and when they moved the creature it began regurgitating a white-tailed deer fawn.Biologist Ian Bartoszek told the Naples Daily News that the fawn weighed 35 pounds; the snake 31.5."We were sitting there just trying to process that an animal this size could get its head around what turned out to be a deer," Bartoszek said. "It's surreal to see that in the field."Bartoszek said it was the largest python-to-prey weight difference he had measured.Burmese pythons, which can grow nearly 20-feet long, were brought to South Florida as pets in the late 1970s. They were released into the wild, and have become a problematic invasive species.White-tailed deer are an important food source for Florida's endangered panthers, so the researchers are concerned the pervasive snakes could also impact the health of the big cats.If the snake had been left in the wild, it would have digested the entire deer, Bartoszek said.He called the predator-to-prey size ratio stunned his team."It showed my team and myself what we were actually dealing with out there, what this python is capable of," he told the newspaper.FRONT-END LOADER USED TO FLIPPED-OVER TRUCK DOWN HIGHWAYOSSIPEE, N.H. (AP) — Police say a New Hampshire man is facing charges for using a front-end loader to push a pickup truck down a highway in the town of Ossipee.Officials say a family dispute boiled over when 55-year-old Edward Evans used his company's construction equipment to flip the truck on its side and push it 1,000 feet down Route 16.He deposited it at an auto repair shop.Ossipee Police Sgt. Anthony Castaldo said the incident Continue Reading

Midoriko Sugaya Colson

Midoriko Sugaya Colson, 92, of Inman, SC, died Monday, February 26, 2018, at Spartanburg Regional Hospice Home. Born November 26, 1925, in Tochigi-ken, Japan, she was the daughter of the late Choukichi Sugaya and Saki Kobayashi Sugaya and widow of Maurice E. Colson. Mrs. Colson earned her Associates Degree in the English language and worked for the U.S. Army following World War II. While working for the U.S. Army, she met and married her husband of 57 years. She left her homeland with her husband and baby daughter to live in the U.S., eventually becoming an American citizen in 1964. Mrs. Colson dedicated her life to raising her daughter, many times alone, due to her husband's military assignments in Korea and Vietnam. After her daughter entered high school, she worked for Coach-Lite in Lancaster, PA for a number of years as a computer operator. Mrs. Colson was a devoted mother to her daughter and son-in-law and a loving grandma to her grandsons. She was very quiet and shy in nature, but once someone got to know her, her generous and kind spirit became very apparent. Survivors include her daughter, Marina "Peggy Colson" Kakouras (Dimitri) of Inman, SC; grandsons, Konstantinos Kakouras of Inman, SC and Christos Kakouras of Boiling Springs, SC; and brother, Kimitaka Sugaya of Takamatsu-shi Kagawa-ken, Japan. During the last two years of her life, Mrs. Colson needed constant care. The family is very grateful to her special caregivers Rhonda Robinson, Carmen Rosser and Latonia Wilson as well as the staff of the Hospice of South Carolina. Visitation will be held 6:00-7:30 PM on Wednesday, February 28, 2018, at Floyd's Greenlawn Chapel, 2075 E. Main St., Spartanburg, SC 29307. Funeral services will be conducted at 11:00 AM on Thursday, March 1, 2018, at Floyd's Greenlawn Chapel, by The Rev. George F. Nayfa. Burial will be in Greenlawn Memorial Gardens, 1300 Fernwood-Glendale Rd., Spartanburg, SC 29307. An online guest register is available at Floyd's Continue Reading

High school musicals keep getting better: Here’s why

High schools across the county are presenting their spring musicals in the weeks ahead, and if you haven’t been to a high school show in a while, you might just be amazed. Shows like “Shrek,” “Beauty and the Beast,” “West Side Story,” “Phantom,” “The Wizard of Oz” and three productions of “Mary Poppins” — complete with flying — will trod the boards between now and the end of April The shows will feature talented actors and singers, beautiful sets, great lighting, strong music and special effects that wouldn’t have been imaginable 15 or 20 years ago. Technology, changing attitudes about the importance of the arts and the immediate information age we all live in have upped everybody’s game. Gone are the days of the plywood painted set, the bad lighting, wooden performances from the guys on the football team and the clunky dance numbers. Today’s high school theater is more professional, more engaging and more committed than ever. “There is no such thing as a good high school show,” says Alan Mudrick, who’s been teaching music at Hempfield High School for 30 years. “It’s either a good show or it isn’t. We instill that in our students: It’s a good show, period.” “You’ve got to keep pushing them,” says Kevin Ditzler, who’s been directing at Lampeter-Strasburg High School for eight years. “It’s almost a disservice if you just settle. You push as hard as you can.” Big expectations can yield strong shows. “When I was in high school, we showed up at rehearsal and were told where to stand and what to do,” says Irving Gonzalez, who’s been directing at Ephrata High School for the past seven years. “At Ephrata, we want them to have real hands-on experience, to open dialogue so they can be part of the creative process. All of them have a voice. That’s the Continue Reading

Meet the San Antonio couple who say they started the downtown love lock bridge

By Madalyn Mendoza, Updated 10:37 am, Wednesday, February 14, 2018 window._taboola = window._taboola || []; _taboola.push({ mode: 'thumbnails-c', container: 'taboola-interstitial-gallery-thumbnails-5', placement: 'Interstitial Gallery Thumbnails 5', target_type: 'mix' }); _taboola.push({flush: true}); window._taboola = window._taboola || []; _taboola.push({ mode: 'thumbnails-c', container: 'taboola-interstitial-gallery-thumbnails-10', placement: 'Interstitial Gallery Thumbnails 10', target_type: 'mix' }); _taboola.push({flush: true}); window._taboola = window._taboola || []; _taboola.push({ mode: 'thumbnails-c', container: 'taboola-interstitial-gallery-thumbnails-15', placement: 'Interstitial Gallery Thumbnails 15', target_type: 'mix' }); _taboola.push({flush: true}); window._taboola = window._taboola || []; _taboola.push({ mode: 'thumbnails-c', container: 'taboola-interstitial-gallery-thumbnails-20', placement: 'Interstitial Gallery Thumbnails 20', target_type: 'mix' }); _taboola.push({flush: true}); window._taboola = window._taboola || []; _taboola.push({ mode: 'thumbnails-c', container: 'taboola-interstitial-gallery-thumbnails-25', placement: 'Interstitial Gallery Thumbnails 25', target_type: 'mix' }); _taboola.push({flush: true}); window._taboola = window._taboola || []; _taboola.push({ mode: 'thumbnails-c', container: 'taboola-interstitial-gallery-thumbnails-30', placement: 'Interstitial Gallery Thumbnails 30', target_type: 'mix' }); _taboola.push({flush: true}); window._taboola = window._taboola || []; _taboola.push({ mode: 'thumbnails-c', container: 'taboola-interstitial-gallery-thumbnails-35', placement: 'Interstitial Gallery Thumbnails 35', target_type: 'mix' }); _taboola.push({flush: true}); window._taboola = window._taboola || []; _taboola.push({ mode: 'thumbnails-c', container: 'taboola-interstitial-gallery-thumbnails-40', placement: 'Interstitial Gallery Thumbnails 40', target_type: Continue Reading

Shore locals grab Belmar Five wins

 BELMAR – It was never easy for Mark Leininger and Brianna Feerst.Both former Shore Conference distance running stars were pushed to their limits in claiming their Belmar Five titles Saturday morning. The 41st edition of this classic summer footracing spectacular attracted over 2,600 runners from up and down the East Coast and beyond, but it was these local products who prevailed over the vast field — by narrow margins. Leininger, 26, the former Colts Neck High School and American University track and cross country star, used a desperation spurt in the final few blocks to hold off Joseph Mullen of Berea, Kentucky, for the men’s title, 24:46 to 24:50. More: Lincroft Little Leaguers capture District 19 title Brick resident Feerst, 23, the Point Pleasant Beach High School and Clemson University graduate, outdueled Hannah Eckstein of Middletown for the women’s crown, 29:07 to 29:19.The Belmar Five, staged by the Jersey Shore Running Club in cooperation with the Borough of Belmar and Goodwill Hose Co. as the second event in JSRC’s four-race Golden Grand Prix Series, has always been considered “fun in the summer sun.” But Leininger and Feerst already are pointing ahead to some longer and more challenging events in the months ahead. Both are training for major marathons.“I ran a 2:28 and placed 60th at the Olympic Marathon Trials in Los Angeles in 2016 and so far that’s the only marathon I’ve ever run,” Leininger said. More: 'Jersey Shore' reunion films in Point Pleasant Beach and Asbury Park “I hadn’t really done marathon training and wasn’t totally prepared for it. But I know I can run a lot better than that, hopefully in December. I’m going to the California International Marathon in Sacramento and this year it’s the U.S. National Championship marathon.” A 29:06 10K performance earlier this year was another Continue Reading

Medical marijuana: Treatment, oil could reduce kids’ epileptic seizures, but it remains illegal in Pa.

Jackson Salemme can play with his dad's iPhone. Holding the device as it lights up and makes noise seems enough to keep the 7-year-old amused for hours.But his boyish giggling and grin aside, he cannot tell his parents he is having fun. He cannot tell them how happy he is, because he cannot talk.Jackson has epilepsy, a neurological disorder that causes seizures and renders many sufferers nonverbal.In the last two years, the North Codorus Township child has experienced hundreds of seizures. His parents, Chris and Cara Salemme, have tried a dozen prescription medications, steroids and a rigorous diet, all to no avail.Now, they want to treat Jackson with Charlotte's Web, a type of marijuana that might help reduce seizures. But that option is off the table in Pennsylvania until medical marijuana is legalized by the state's General Assembly. There is a legislative effort underway to legalize the drug, but how far it will get remains to be seen.Named after Charlotte Figi, a 5-year-old girl with epilepsy who suffered hundreds of grand mal seizures a week, Charlotte's Web contains high levels of cannabidiol oil, CBD, one of many marijuana compounds, but low levels of tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, the psychoactive ingredient that gets users high when smoked. Before taking the oil, Charlotte could not walk, commonly went into cardiac arrest and could barely speak. Two years later, she is largely seizure-free and able to walk, talk and feed herself.While some have said Charlotte's story is merely anecdotal, many parents are willing to try anything to reduce their child's seizures.Medical marijuana advocates insist the debate is not about getting high. They do not want their kids to smoke the plant. The oil can be taken orally, much like cough syrup, or mixed into food.The Salemmes are happy to see Jackson play the simple, repetitive games he enjoys, but they can do little else for him as they watch their son's childhood slip away. And as their options dwindle, their mounting Continue Reading

Marty Schottenheimer finds himself coaching in obscurity with the Virginia Destroyers of the UFL

CHESAPEAKE, Va. - Five playbooks, each emblazoned with the lightning-bolt emblem of the San Diego Chargers, line shelves along the wall and atop the closet of room No. 112, a remodeled unit inside the Norfolk Marriott. Spread across the desk, injury reports, highlighted by fluorescent colors, interrupt the otherwise black-and-white schemes of defensive diagrams. For Virginia Destroyers coach Marty Schottenheimer, the commute to his workspace is minimal. His bedroom door stands five feet down the hall: Room 110. "I've lived in 26 domiciles in my career," Schottenheimer says. "I'm like horse manure. I've been everywhere!" "Martyball," the unbending brand of power-based football employed by Schottenheimer during his 26 years in the NFL, including a five-season stint in San Diego, meets Moneyball in the lobby. His players, paid $5,000 per game by the fledgling UFL, transport to workouts, 11 miles southeast, in personal cars. One such vehicle, a black Ford Expedition, pulls into the Princess Anne Athletic Complex on a crisp October morning. Ten teammates, each in uniform and hauling helmets, empty out en masse. "I had a pretty good idea this wasn't going to be a sled ride," says Schottenheimer, who drives into a spot alone in his silver S550 Mercedes-Benz. At 68, Schottenheimer, whose son, Brian, is the Jets' embattled offensive coordinator, washed ashore in Virginia Beach last spring fully aware that he will likely never coach in the NFL again. Fired by the Chargers for what ownership deemed a "dysfunctional" relationship with general manager A.J. Smith after a playoff flameout in 2007, Schottenheimer holds 200 NFL wins, the sixth most in league history. He now convenes meetings in insulated trailers that crowd the Marriott's back parking lot. "Marty would coach in the Lingerie League if he could," says Jets tailback LaDainian Tomlinson, who starred under Schottenheimer in San Diego. When informed of Tomlinson's thought, the coach threw his hands in the Continue Reading

Diehard supporters of Yankees, Red Sox are the most passionate in all of sports

Five days after the Titanic hit ice and sunk in the North Atlantic, its maiden voyage turning tragic at the 41st parallel, a far more benign unveiling took place on the coast of Massachusetts. It was a Saturday, April 20, 1912. Following two days of rainouts, the Boston Red Sox finally played a game in their new home, Fenway Park.  The field was built on a patch of former marshland. Boston's star center fielder, Tris Speaker, knocked an 11th-inning single to bring a 7-6 victory. The opponent that day was the New York Highlanders - soon to be the Yankees - and if you don't find that fitting, well, you haven't been paying attention over the last 97 years. The Highlanders/Yankees were on their way to their worst record (50-102) ever, while the Red Sox were about to win the World Series. Soon enough an iconic star, Babe Ruth, would be sold, the clubs' fortunes would reverse, and baseball's oldest, hottest and most chronicled rivalry would be on its way, a hardball border war that has not always been torrid (raise your hand if you spent time in 1966 debating who was better, Steve Whitaker or Jim Gosger), but has given us more great theatre than Broadway, and all manner of psycho-socio subplots for no extra charge. "Long before I knew the word 'conspiracy,' I felt it every August, when the Yankees would get the exact player they needed from the Kansas City A's, and would beat us out again," says Rob Gilbert, who grew up in Boston before becoming a professor and sports psychologist at Montclair State University. From Russell Earl Dent to Aaron John Boone to David Ray Roberts, the Yankees-Red Sox rivalry has produced epic moments and Ted Williams for the great Joe DiMaggio); some infamous brouhahas (Carlton v. Thurman, Bill Lee v. Graig Nettles, Pedro v. Zim) and ceaseless taunts and retorts. "Got rings?" reads a popular Yankee T- shirt, reminding Sox fans of their 26 World Series titles. "Got rings lately?" reads a popular Sox T-shirt, reminding Yankee fans Continue Reading