December 24, 2015
Star Wars Fan In NY Legally Changes Name To Darth Vader
Canandaigua, NY (AP) Darth Vader is a tattooed 43-year-old former Marine who owns a gym and is raising funds online for a bone marrow transplant.
The Democrat and Chronicle of Rochester reports that a western New York man legally changed his name last year to match the villain in the “Star Wars” films.
The former Eric Welch, of Canandaigua (kan-un-DAY’-gwuh), says he grew up in foster homes and didn’t have strong family ties to his name.
The “Star Wars” fan says he chose Darth Vader for his new name because the character carries an aura of leadership and toughness.
He tests his own toughness by competing in half-marathons and endurance events. He was diagnosed with leukemia in 2002.
A spokeswoman for the Department of Motor Vehicles confirms that Darth Vader is his legal name.
Cowboys Ride To The Rescue Of Deer Trapped In Arizona Canal
Peoria, AZ (AP) Two cowboys are being credited with coming to the rescue of a deer stuck in an Arizona canal.
The state Game and Fish Department received several calls Thursday reporting a deer was trapped in a canal near Lake Pleasant, northwest of Phoenix. The animal apparently slipped into the cold water and couldn’t scale the canal’s steep, concrete walls to get out. Game and Fish officer Reuben Gonzales says two cowboys with lassos happened by and stopped at the scene to help.
Video the agency posted on YouTube shows one man standing on a bridge above the canal and dropping a lasso around the deer’s antlers as it swims below.
Gonzales says Game and Fish officers then carried the stressed, shivering animal out of the water and loaded it into a truck. They then took it to Lake Pleasant Regional Park and released it.
The deer regained its composure after about 20 minutes and ran off.
Donor Pays Off $106K In Walmart Shoppers’ Layaways
Cleveland (AP) A man has paid off more than $106,000 in shoppers’ layaways at two Wal-Mart stores in northeast Ohio.
WEWS-TV in Cleveland reports that the man told Wal-Mart employees that he liked to do something special on his birthday every year. They say he insisted on remaining anonymous.
The donor paid off a total of nearly $70,000 for the layaway items at the Steelyard Commons store in Cleveland and about $36,000 for items in Lorain. Items on layaway included toys, 70-inch televisions and even a pair of socks.
Tara Neal said she had paid $10 on a bed for her 3-year-old daughter at one of the stores when she was told Tuesday that the remaining balance of more than $80 was paid. She said it was “like Santa.”
Minnesota Mom Sinks Half Court Shot, Wins Half Off Tuition
Bloomington, MN (AP) A Minnesota mom says she said a little prayer before hoisting a basketball half-court and sinking her shot to win thousands of dollars off her daughter’s private school tuition.
Angela Ramey and her daughter, Grace raised the most money in a school fundraiser at Bethany Academy in Bloomington, Minnesota, earning three chances to make the half-court shot and knock $4,000 off tuition next year.
Grace gave her mom the basketball and on the final try Angela launched it under hand. It bounced, swished through the net and the crowd went wild. The mother and daughter screamed with joy.
The Rameys were in New York Thursday for an appearance on ABC’s “Good Morning America” to celebrate the winning basket.
Fans Of Honest Colorado Busboy Raise Over $3,800 For Him
Grand Junction, CO (AP) A struggling Colorado busboy who returned $3,000 in cash that he found on the floor is getting rewarded with a big tip.
As of Monday, people impressed with Johnny Duckworth’s honesty have raised more than $3,800 through gofundme.com.
He found the cash Tuesday at Randy’s Southside Diner in Grand Junction, and handed it over to his boss, Randy Emmons.
The money was in an envelope behind a booth.
There was also a bank ATM slip inside, and the bank was able to return the money to its owner, who gave Duckworth a $300 tip.
Emmons told KKCO-TV that Duckworth rides his bike to work, and his paycheck is garnished for medical bills.
Duckworth says he never thought of keeping the money, saying “I work for a living.”
Lip Balm With Pot Ingredient Thrown Out At Air Base
Anchorage, AK (AP) Officials say they had to discard hundreds of tubes of lip balm that were distributed at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richards after they were found to contain trace amounts of THC, an active ingredient in marijuana.
The base’s Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Office had been distributing the lip balm as it typically does with other promotional items, like water bottles and calendars, The Alaska Dispatch News reported. JBER spokesman 1st Lt. Michael Harrington said the lip balm was purchased mistakenly.
The lip balm contained hemp seed oil, which is banned under U.S. Army and Air Force regulations. The base’s public affairs team had emailed JBER employees Wednesday, asking them to toss out the 400 tubes of lip balm.
While the lip balm “does not have a significant amount of THC to register on a drug test,” the email says, it still falls under the ban on hemp seed products.
Harrington said the products were thrown out to “take the route of utmost caution.”
Poll Shows 90% Support: Siberian City Backs Cat For Mayor
Barnaul, Russia (AP) Tired of the dog-eat-dog politics in their Russian city, the residents of Barnaul say they want a cat to be their next mayor.
The Siberian city of 650,000 people, which lies 2,900 kilometers (1,800 miles) east of Moscow, is to get a new mayor next week when a commission comprising the city council and the regional governor choose from among six candidates.
But none of the six appear to spark much affection among Barnaul’s residents. An informal online poll asking residents to express their preferences among the six and a Siamese cat named Barsik showed the feline nabbing more than 90 percent of the vote.
Barsik has attracted much amused attention in the Russian news media. Still, some local politicians understand there’s a more serious message coming from the people of Barnaul, which like many Russian cities has been riddled with alleged corruption.
“Through the image of Barsik the cat, our people are sending definite wishes to the future head of Barnaul,” says regional Gov. Alexander Karlin.
“The conclusion has been made that there’s absolutely no trust among voters for any of the candidates,” said local Communist Party official, Ivan Karpov.