Offbeat news from GateHouse papers
Fisherman lands 'massive fish'
QUINCY, Mass. -- Allen Mullaney of Quincy is still sore after landing a 536-pound thresher shark during the Oak Bluffs Monster Shark Derby on Martha’s Vineyard.
“He was just a massive fish,” said Mullaney, 49, who reeled in the shark for four hours after hooking it. “It’s probably one of the hardest things I’ve ever done.”
“Two hours into the fight we knew we had something substantial,” said Christopher Jankins, who chartered a Cohasset-based boat called the “Castafari” with Mullaney for the tournament. “Three hours in we were wishing the line would break.”
The shark measured 16.5 feet, including a 8.5 foot scythe-like tail. It was the largest shark taken during the weekend tournament, in which contestants are judged on the size of their total catch.
'Corpse Flower' releases its stench
CLEVELAND -- It’s the "Christmas Story" leg lamp turned upside down. Only it’s alive, its shade is lime green and its footless, purple leg is composed of putrefying flesh.
It’s the rare titan arum, and it isn’t nicknamed the “Corpse Flower” for nothing. It smells like sun-baked road kill when it blooms.
On Monday morning, after three weeks of anticipation, the flower bloomed for the first time in its 13-year existence and began stinking up the RainForest at Cleveland Metroparks Zoo.
It’s the only time a titan arum has bloomed in Ohio, and according to zoo officials, the flower has bloomed in fewer than two dozen institutions in the country.
The flower’s hideous cologne, along with its size and color, all work to serve the evolutionary purpose of attracting carrion-eating beetles and flies, which work to pollinate the plant, officials said.
Scam e-mail claims you'll be 'asserinated'
NORWICH, Conn. -- Those who frequently use e-mail may be accustomed to the various Internet scam messages that clog their in-boxes.
Many of these unsolicited e-mails originate in Nigeria and are known as advanced-fee fraud e-mails, or 419s. They inform victims they will receive a large sum of money -- asking only that they send an advance fee before the money can be transferred to the victim.
Now, police and the state attorney general say, scammers have taken their business a step further with a death threat e-mail from a supposed hit man willing to take money to avoid having to kill his intended victim.
"I wish to inform you that your destiny lies in your hands now," one version of this death-scam e-mail reads. "You don't know me and can never know/see me in your life time. A contract of $90,000.00 has been signed for me to asserinate (sic) you in the next few days ..."
Obvious grammatical and spelling errors may not be the only frightening thing about the message, especially to senior citizens, Norwich Police Detective Mark Lounsbury said.
"This is a new twist, something that feeds on the fear factor," Lounsbury said. "Some may have a real panic over it."
Home gutted while family on vacation
GILBERT, Ariz. -- A man visiting family in Wellington, Kan., returned home last week to find his home ransacked and most of his possessions missing.
After a two-week visit in Wellington, Josh Murray and his wife and two children returned home Friday to find their home stripped of everything but the large appliances.
Family members in Wellington say televisions, clothing, kitchen items, food and bathroom towels were taken.
Murray's grandmother Donna Etter said the thieves even took pictures from the wall.
Also taken, Etter said, were Murray's home office files, computer, a large baseball card collection, children's toys, record collection and all the family linens.
“Just about everything is gone,” Etter said.
Cop found drunk in church
LEAVENWORTH, Kan. -- A Leavenworth police officer is off suspension after he was found a couple of weeks ago trespassing inside a church while intoxicated, according to a department spokesman.
Leavenworth Police Chief Lee Doehring did not release the name of the officer involved, citing personnel reasons.
The incident was reported to authorities about 2:30 a.m. July 8 at the First Baptist Church, 340 N. 13th St.
The Rev. Randall Terrill was contacted by an alarm company for the church. At that time, the pastor reportedly observed a man standing outside the church.
But “he lost sight of him,” Doehring said.
The alarm company called again a short time later to report the alarm had been triggered a second time. Police were contacted.
Officers arrived and checked the perimeter of the building. After finding a door unlocked, police searched the building and found a man inside. Doehring said they almost immediately identified the man as an off-duty officer.
“He was on the floor intoxicated,” Doehring said.
Police found no one else inside the church. Doehring said nothing was damaged and there didn’t appear to be anything missing from the church.