By Bruce Shipkowski, Associated Press
Trenton, NJ (AP) – A letter carrier trapped inside his truck by wild turkeys, a man whose wife and girlfriend published dueling obituaries for him, and a fantasy football player’s public march of shame were among the oddest stories from New Jersey this year.
Hillsdale police came to the letter carrier’s aid in February after seven turkeys accosted him. Two officers eventually were able to scare them off.
When Leroy Bill Black died in August, two versions of his obituary appeared together in a newspaper – one saying he was survived by his wife, the other by his girlfriend.
Angelo Boemio drew attention in September when he marched down a Toms River roadway wearing only pink women’s bikini bottoms and sneakers to mark his last-place finish in his fantasy football league.
TURKEYS GONE WILD
Hillsdale police had to come to the aid of a letter carrier in February after seven turkeys accosted him.
The town’s postmaster initially told police “you’re not going to believe this’’ before providing details about the attack, noting similar events have happened before. The police officer who took the call sounded equally amazed.
Authorities say about seven turkeys accosted the letter carrier, but he wasn’t injured.
Two officers scared off the turkeys so the letter carrier could continue his route.
SURVIVED BY …
Two versions of a New Jersey man’s obituary appeared together in a newspaper in August – one saying he was survived by his wife, and the other saying he was survived by his girlfriend.
The obituary with top billing in The Press of Atlantic City said Leroy Bill Black, 55, of Egg Harbor Township, was survived by his “loving wife’’ and a son. It did not list a cause of death.
The second announcement, right beneath the first one with the same photo of Black, said he was survived by his son, a host of siblings and his longtime girlfriend. It also said he died of lung cancer caused by fiberglass exposure.
WALK OF SHAME
Angelo Boemio drew lots of attention in September when he marched down a road in Toms River wearing only pink women’s bikini bottoms and sneakers while hoisting a sign signifying his last-place finish in his fantasy football league.
The 42-year-old pizzeria owner strolled along Route 9 for 10 minutes on Labor Day, inducing hilarity and horror in pedestrians and motorists. Boemio said people honked their horns, and a woman with four children in her minivan drove by five times as the kids laughed at his display.
Police also called his business to say they were getting calls from concerned citizens, he said.
The fantasy football league is made up mostly of pizzeria owners and adopted the shame-inducing statute two years ago to keep participants from losing interest once their teams had no shot of winning the league.
SUNRISE VIEWER FLOATS AWAY
A man getting ready to watch the sunrise on a piece of plywood in a marina was swept out in June by the Hudson River current and wound up about 2 1/2 miles away, near New York’s Governors Island.
Jersey City officials say the man was sent drifting into the river on an 8-foot-long piece of plywood. They say he likely stayed on the wood because he didn’t want to jump into the water and lose his cellphone while swimming back. Instead, he stayed in the center of the plywood as it floated farther into New York Harbor’s heavily traveled commercial lanes.
The man, whose name wasn’t disclosed, was rescued unharmed about a quarter-mile from Governors Island, a 172-acre island in the heart of the harbor close to lower Manhattan and Brooklyn.
Guzzo said the man was very happy to see the rescue team and hugged them after he was pulled onboard.
GODLESS VANITY PLATE
A woman whose request for a vanity license plate reading “8THEIST’’ was denied two years ago, when state officials said it might be considered offensive, can now display it.
A settlement filed in federal court in August resolved a lawsuit filed in 2014 by Shannon Morgan. As part of the settlement, the state Motor Vehicle Commission also agreed to issue the following vanity plates or “combinations that are substantially similar’’: SECULAR, RATIONL, HUMANST, ATHEISM, GODLESS, HEATHEN, HERETIC, SKEPTIC, BLASFMR, REASON, EVOLVE, TRANS, LGBTR.TS, LGBTQ, PRIDE, QUEER, GAYPOWR, LGBTALY, FEMINISM, FEMINST, EQUALITY and 4WOMEN.
The commission also agreed to pay the Maurice River woman $75,000.
Morgan’s lawsuit said the Motor Vehicle Commission violated her First Amendment rights when its website rejected the 8THEIST vanity plate. She said she received a message stating her request was ineligible as it “may carry connotations offensive to good taste and decency.’’
Researchers at Rutgers University announced in September that it might be time to reconsider the five-second rule when thinking about eating food that has fallen on the floor.
Their study found bacteria can instantaneously contaminate food that falls on the floor.
Researcher Donald Schaffner said the five-second rule is a “significant oversimplification of what actually happens when bacteria transfer from a surface to food.’’
His research isn’t the first to conclude that the favorite excuse for why that yummy snack that fell on the ground is still OK to eat is wrong. It did find that longer contact time means more bacterial transfer, but that the type of food and surface is just as, or more, important.
The Rutgers researchers tested watermelon, bread, bread and butter, and gummy candy on stainless steel, ceramic tile, wood and carpet.