July 30, 2015
Oldest Giant Panda Celebrates With Bamboo, Veggie Cake
Hong Kong (AP) The oldest giant panda ever in captivity tasted a vegetable ice cake and, of course, bamboo in celebration of her 37th birthday.
Jia Jia was recognized Tuesday as holding two Guinness World Records, the oldest ever and the oldest living giant panda. Her mate, An An, also marked a birthday, his 29th.
Born in 1978, Jia Jia was sent to Hong Kong Ocean Park with An An in 1999. They were given by China to mark the second anniversary of Hong Kong’s handover.
Jia Jia has had six babies and four are still living.
The park’s veterinary service director, Paolo Martelli, says typical panda life expectancy is around 20 years and only eight of about 400 living in captivity today are older than 30.
So, he says, “it’s quite exceptional to reach such an old age for a panda.”
Jia Jia’s age equals about 110 for humans. She suffers high blood pressure and arthritic pain, though her health is stable.
ATM Workers Forget Bag Of Cash, Man Drives Off With $150K
Mahwah, NJ (AP) Police say a man drove off with a bag containing $150,000 in cash after two employees who were replenishing ATMs mistakenly left it on a lawn in northern New Jersey.
Mahwah police say in a news release that the ATM employees had stopped at a business on Industrial Avenue when one of them placed the satchel on the front lawn as he moved items around in their vehicle.
They drove off, forgetting the bag. Sometime after 11:15 a.m. Monday, surveillance video shows a passenger in a white van grabbing the bag.
The van was seen in other video surveillance pulling into a nearby auto repair business and pilfering used tires.
Police say the ATM employees are cooperating with the investigation.
Cat Found Alive In Sunken Boat
Lake Havasu City, AZ (AP) A trapped, hungry, wet and scared cat is now safe after it was found tucked away in a boat that had sank to the bottom of Lake Havasu.
Today’s News-Herald reports the brown-and-black American shorthair breed was found when the boat was brought ashore by Dive Time Recovery owner John Zucalla.
It’s unclear who the cat belongs to, if anyone, and Western Arizona Humane Society workers named the cat River.
Zucalla says River had been in the water for at least an hour and was alive, though frightened, when she was spotted in a front storage compartment.
He said the cat must have stowed away sometime before boat owner Genaro Rudaldava left Orange County, California.
Rudaldava said River wasn’t his cat. If owners don’t step forward this week, River will be eligible for adoption.
Idaho Cyclist Sparks Fire By Burning Used Toilet Paper
Boise, ID (AP) Authorities say a cyclist started a 73-acre wildfire in southwest Idaho by lighting his toilet paper on fire after taking a comfort break.
U.S. Bureau of Land Management officials say the cyclist stopped to defecate in a ravine in the Boise foothills on Wednesday afternoon.
The man then lit the toilet paper on fire but lost control of the embers in the dry grass while trying to extinguishing the waste. Firefighters contai ed the flames several hours later.
Investigators say the man contacted them Thursday morning and his story matched the evidence found at the scene.
The BLM did not release the name of the cyclist. However, officials say he will be fined for causing the fire.
560-Pound Man Biking Across US To Lose Weight
Tiverton, RI (AP) A 560-pound man biking across the United States to lose weight hit a snag in Rhode Island.
The Newport Daily News reports a bent rim on Eric Hites’ bicycle has kept him in Tiverton since late last week, 90 miles from where his ride began in Falmouth, Massachusetts.
Newport Bicycle is outfitting Hites with a new bike that can withstand his weight.
In two weeks on the road, the 40-year-old says he’s lost 60 pounds.
Hites, who currently wears size 70 pants and a 10X T-shirt, says he’s always been a big person. He hopes to lose hundreds of pounds and gather material for a second book.
He previously authored a humorous cookbook entitled “Everybody Loves Ramen,” which includes 50 recipes he developed in college.
Robot’s Cross-Country Hitchhike Not Off To A Good Start
Boston (AP) A robot’s hitchhiking journey across the U.S. is off to a slow start.
The robot named hitchBOT caught its first ride in Marblehead, Massachusetts, last week, bound for San Francisco, but it still hasn’t left the state.
Instead, it has bounced around the Boston area and was briefly taken to sea. On Friday, the humanoid robot took in a Red Sox game.
The robot is immobile and relies on strangers to transport it from place to place. It’s the creation of two researchers in Canada who wanted to study how people interact with robots. The robot automatically documents its travels on social media.
Previously hitchBOT took 26 days to travel across Canada. Its creators said it had a slow start there, too, but then quickly zipped across the country.
Florida Man Wins Hemingway Look-Alike Contest
Key West, FL (AP) A white-bearded Florida man has won the “Papa” Hemingway Look-Alike Contest on his 15th attempt.
Retired air traffic controller Charlie Boice of Palm Beach Gardens prevailed Saturday night at Sloppy Joe’s Bar, a hangout of Ernest Hemingway during his Key West residency in the 1930s.
A panel of former contest winners chose Boice, 56, who said he shares Hemingway’s passion for marlin fishing.
Celebrity cook Paula Deen’s husband, Michael Groover of Savannah, Georgia, finished in the top five.
The contest attracted 122 entrants. It’s a highlight of the annual Hemingway Days festival honoring the author’s literary legacy.
During his Key West years, Hemingway wrote the novel “To Have and Have Not.”
Hiker Climbs Tree To Escape Coyotes, Gets Stuck For 5 Hours
Manchester, NJ (AP) A hiker trying to escape from coyotes in a wooded area of southern New Jersey has gotten stuck in a tree for nearly five hours.
The Asbury Park Press says Manchester Township police found April Lewis tied to a tree about 15 feet off the ground early Monday.
The Quakertown, Pennsylvania, resident thought she had spotted coyotes in the distance and climbed the tree for safety. Lewis cut off a piece of her pants to tie herself to the tree but didn’t have her cellphone to call for help.
A man heard Lewis’ cries and called police.
Officers found Lewis. Firefighters helped her down from the tree. She was evaluated at the scene and was released.
Former 41-Pound Fat Cat Slims Down To 19 Pounds
Dallas (AP) A former 41-pound cat dubbed Skinny has lost more than half of his weight to become the darling of a Dallas veterinary clinic.
Dr. Brittney Barton says the orange tabby she adopted in 2013 has slimmed down to 19 pounds with exercise and a special diet. Barton calls Skinny the “resident cat” at her practice, HEAL Veterinary Hospital.
Barton said Friday that Skinny spends weekdays roaming the clinic. The ex-fat cat’s weekends are spent at home with Barton and her family.
Skinny was found abandoned near Dallas in 2012 and ended up at a shelter. The vet says Skinny just had his annual checkup and is healthy.
Barton says Skinny is living proof that while he’s supposed to be a large cat, “he’s not supposed to be an obese cat.”