Last week's odd news: 'Weed Fairy' visits Seattle, gives out pot – DesMoinesRegister.com

SEATTLE – A woman who calls herself the “Weed Fairy” distributed free nuggets of marijuana to people in Seattle over Memorial Day weekend, taping the free pot on fliers around a city neighborhood.

The woman, Yeni Sleidi, 23, says she does it to amuse people and to give them a break from everyday stress.

She said 50 fliers had nuggets taped to them.

“People mostly laughed,” Sleidi said May 28.

The woman said she first came up with the idea in New York, where she lived during the government shutdown, because several of her friends were affected by it. She wanted to distract them from the stress. Her passing out the pot in the Big Apple drew plenty of coverage from the media.

“I’m not sure what the thought process was but I thought people would be amused by it,” she said.

The fliers posted in Seattle came with the message: “These are tough times. Take this weed. And keep your spirits high.” Sleidi posted her free marijuana in Capitol Hill, one of Seattle’s most urban neighborhoods, known for its nightlife and counterculture.

Washington and Colorado legalized recreational marijuana in 2012.

Sleidi said it was the first time she felt comfortable with attaching her name to her deeds.

“I felt so relaxed about it … I wouldn’t feel comfortable doing it elsewhere in the country,” she said.

A call to the Seattle Police Department to ask about the pot distribution effort was not returned.

Cross-country flight diverted after dog poops in aisle

KANSAS CITY – A cross-country flight had to make an unscheduled landing when a service dog pooped twice in the aisle, sickening passengers with the odor.

US Airways spokesman Andrew Christie said the May 28 US Airways flight from Los Angeles to Philadelphia had to make an unscheduled stop in Kansas City.

Christie called the episode a “rare and unfortunate situation.” The flight continued after the mess was cleaned up on the ground. The passenger and service dog were rebooked on another flight.

Jim Kutsch, president at The Seeing Eye guide dog school in Morristown, N.J., tells The Philadelphia Inquirer that such incidents are rare, but that dogs occasionally get sick on planes, too.

Burn victim douses self with Slurpees

GRANTS PASS, Ore. – Things were quiet at a convenience store in Southern Oregon when a tattooed man came in and started dousing himself with Hawaiian Punch Slurpees.

The Grants Pass Daily Courier reports the man had suffered burns and was being chased by two others May 27 when he ran into the 7-Eleven store in downtown Grants Pass.

Store clerk Charlie Bentley says he didn’t know what was going on, but he and another employee kept the two pursuers outside while the man filled his shirt from the Slurpee machine and rubbed the icy concoction on his skin.

Police say they traced the disturbance back to a residence a few blocks away, where a man and a woman were burned with hot oil during a dispute between neighbors. They were not identified.

Complaint: Cook licked sandwiches, served officers

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – A cook is facing battery charges after authorities say she secretly licked sandwiches then served them to probation and parole officers.

KOAT-TV reports that Yolanda Arguello, 59, was charged this week following witness interviews into the bizarre allegations.

According to a criminal complaint, witness told investigators that Arguello would take a piece of cheese, lick it and put it on sandwiches at the South Valley New Mexico Women’s Recovery Academy. Another witness told authorities Arguello was seen sucking on an ice cube and putting it back into a cup before handing it to a staff member.

She is charged with three counts of battery on a peace officer.

41 charged in insurance scam involving dead deer

PHILADELPHIA – Forty-one people are facing charges in what prosecutors call an elaborate insurance fraud scheme that used dead deer to fake car accidents.

Ronald Galati Sr. is accused of running a $5 million scam out of his auto body shop.

District Attorney Seth Williams said May 28 that Galati coached customers to claim they’d struck a deer rather than a car. That way, insurance companies would consider them “no fault” accidents and pay the claims without raising the customers’ premiums.

Investigators say Galati stored deer carcasses, blood and fur in the back of his shop to use as props.

Also charged are Galati’s wife, son and daughter, several insurance adjusters, tow truck drivers, a city official and a police officer.

Defense attorney Anthony Voci said he couldn’t comment specifically on the charges because he hadn’t seen the grand jury presentment.

Deer leaps from Illinois overpass onto minivan

WEST DUNDEE, Ill. – A suburban Chicago woman is grateful her family is safe after a 200-pound deer leapt from an overpass, landing on their minivan as it traveled along an Illinois interstate.

Heidi Conner tells The Arlington Heights Daily Herald that the doe came to rest in the middle of the West Dundee family’s Chevy on May 25. She and her four children were traveling about 70 mph on the Jane Addams Tollway.

She says the accident was bizarre, adding “nobody can believe this deer fell from the sky.” Illinois State Police say witnesses reported seeing the deer jump from an overpass.

Conner says the crash totaled the van and caused minor injuries, but says the way the deer landed on the vehicle was “a miracle in itself.”

Police say the animal died.

Vandal of N.Y. cemetery’s flags is groundhog

LOCKPORT, N.Y. – A sheriff’s deputy investigating reports of vandalized flags at an upstate New York cemetery has caught the culprit in the act.

It was a groundhog.

Niagara County Sheriff James Voutour says he sent a deputy to the veterans’ section of Cold Springs Cemetery after the parents of an Army specialist buried there called reporters earlier this week to complain about the damaged flags.

Groundskeeper Rodney Burdick says about 31 flags were missing from veterans’ graves.

Voutour says he wouldn’t have believed the groundhog was responsible if his deputy hadn’t watched the animal take the flags, break them with its front paws and take them into its den.

Nevermore: Police want to find car-attacking raven

RICHMOND, Maine – Wanted: A raven that’s attacking cars in Maine.

Richmond Police Chief Scott MacMaster tells the Kennebec Journal that the bird has attacked three vehicles, causing $500 in damage in one case.

One owner said he watched the bird land and see its reflection in a window before attacking. The bird damaged gaskets around windshield and windows and the windshield wipers on at least three cars.

One of the victims wants to make to make sure raven attacks are “nevermore.” He wants to shoot the bird.

MacMaster advised them to contact the Maine Warden Service.

The raven is not the only animal to attack a car in town in recent weeks. Last month, police had to deal with two goats that climbed atop a car.

Python billed as N.Y.’s biggest snake dies at zoo

NEW YORK – A 23-foot-long, 300-pound python that zoo officials call the biggest snake in New York City has died.

The Staten Island Advance reported May 23 that Fantasia the snake died at the Staten Island Zoo on May 13.

The 20-year-old albino Burmese python had been moved in February from the Brooklyn Children’s Museum to the zoo because of her size and age. The breed has a life expectancy of about 25.

The zoo says the snake showed no sign of distress or disease before her death.

Zoo spokesman Brian Morris says Fantasia became popular with visitors as soon as she arrived. Morris says the zoo was happy to make a home for her in her final months.

The snake had been at the Brooklyn Children Museum since 1998.

Man charged with stealing human skin from hospital

PHILADELPHIA – A medical company sales representative was charged with stealing more than $350,000 worth of human skin over a period of several years.

Gary Dudek, 54, of Wallingford, Pa., was arrested May 26 and charged with theft, receiving stolen property and tampering with records.

Authorities say he worked until September as a sales representative for a regenerative medicine firm, managing accounts for the bioscience department of Mercy Philadelphia Hospital. In that role, Dudek was allowed to order the skin grafts for the hospital whenever he wanted.

Authorities said the hospital only needed a few grafts at a time. Dudek, however, ordered more than 200 without authorization from November 2011 through July that the hospital never received, investigators said.

Philadelphia police said they do not know the motive or what happened to the grafts, which were valued at $1,700 each.

Dudek was released May 27 after posting 10 percent of $10,000 bail. His attorney, Eugene Tinari, told WCAU-TV that the hospital has yet to prove his client did anything wrong, and the case should be handled as a civil matter.

“To take this into the criminal arena against a man who has been nothing but hard-working and law-abiding his entire life is a bit draconian, in my view,” he said.

Woman, 99, gets college degree after 75-year break

A 99-year-old Maine woman has graduated from college 75 years after a $5 fee kept her from getting her diploma on time.

Beal College in Bangor awarded Jessie White her degree during a special ceremony on May 23 hosted by Alan Stehle, the college’s president.

White told ABC News the special ceremony was wonderful and a lot of fun.

White was supposed to graduate in 1939, but couldn’t afford the $5 transcript fee. A friend who recently learned of her decades-old predicament called Stehle, who paid her balance and set up the ceremony.

White, a Maine native, received her degree in stenography and bookkeeping.

White suffered a disability from a polio infection, but she persisted until she landed a job and worked for years as a bookkeeper.

White said finally getting her degree made her feel “great.”

“Never give up learning. They say when you give up learning you grow old,” she said, according to ABC News. “So I don’t intend to give up learning.”

Colombia chocolate thief sentenced to 5 months

BOGOTA, Colombia – It’s enough to make a candy junkie give up the sweet stuff forever.

A self-declared chocolate addict has been sentenced to five months in one of Colombia’s harshest prisons for swiping $8 worth of candy bars.

Luis Augusto Mora was caught stealing two boxes of locally made Jumbo bars at a Bogota supermarket. After confessing, Mora was sentenced to La Picota prison, home to some of the nation’s most hardened criminals and drug-traffickers.

The tough punishment has caught the attention of President Juan Manuel Santos. In a recent radio interview, he said that misdemeanors like Mora’s shouldn’t waste prosecutors’ time and effort.

Meanwhile, prosecutors have distributed a statement saying the chocolate thief is expressing regret.

Mora says he’ll “never again touch a chocolate in my life.”

Naked man playing violin at courthouse jailed

PORTLAND, Ore. – A naked man playing violin in front of a downtown courthouse May 24 refused to walk to a squad car and had to be carried by police.

Police say they aren’t sure of the man’s identity. He told them his name is Matthew T. Mglej and that he is 25 years old.

The brand of the violin was unknown.

The man was jailed under the Portland city code forbidding indecent exposure.

Police say they warned the man numerous times about his “lack of attire,” but he refused to dress himself or leave public view.

City police refrain from enforcing the code during Portland’s World Naked Bike Ride as long as participants keep to the designated route. The event draws about 8,000 riders each June.

Molly Schuyler breaks her own record, eating the Adam Emmenecker sandwich at Jethro’s, a five pound meal, in less than five minutes.

Nebraska woman wolfs down 2 4½-pound steaks

AMARILLO, Texas – A Nebraska woman celebrated breaking a Texas steakhouse’s speed record for eating a 4½-pound slab of beef by polishing off another one.

The Amarillo Globe-News and the Big Texan Steak Ranch’s Twitter page say that competitive eater Molly Schuyler finished her first steak in 4 minutes 58 seconds on May 26. The previous record was 8 minutes 52 seconds.

The 5-foot 7-inch, 125-pound mother from Bellevue, Neb., ate her second 4½-pound steak in 9 minutes 59 seconds.

The restaurant foots the bill for anyone who can eat one of the steaks, a baked potato, shrimp, a salad and bread roll in under an hour, so Schuyler ate those side dishes as well.

In February, the self-described “bottomless pit” ate 363 chicken wings in 30 minutes in Philadelphia.

Molly Schuyler won the Blue Ribbon Bacon Festival’s bacon-eating contest in just 3.5 minutes. Then she even helped a neighboring competitor.

Michigan zoo sells exotic animal poop

BATTLE CREEK, Mich. – A zoo in southern Michigan is selling a composted mixture of manure produced by exotic animals.

Binder Park Zoo in Battle Creek hosted a “Zoo Doo” event May 29 and will hold another June 5.

Horticulturist Frank Cummins told the Battle Creek Enquirer that the zoo has compost available from herbivores that will sell at $25 a load to zoo members and $30 for nonmembers. Cummins says that the price is a deal, because cow manure can sell for around $2 or $3 a bag.

The Kalamazoo Gazette says zebra, antelope, giraffe and other animals are contributing to the gardening aid.

Binder Park Zoo says it’s a “fun and creative way” to raise money and dispose of waste. It also uses the compost as fertilizer at its facilities.

Anonymous ‘HiddenCash’ creates search frenzy

SAN FRANCISCO – Someone is dropping envelopes full of cash across San Francisco — and causing an international frenzy on social media.

An anonymous man with the Twitter handle @HiddenCash has been hiding money throughout the city since May 23, leading scores on a scavenger hunt. His Twitter following erupted from a few hundred Friday to more than 80,000 and counting by midday May 27.

One of his clues May 27 told San Francisco followers to “find Mr. Franklin along the ‘crookedest street,’ (toward the bottom).”

Translation: There was a $100 bill at the bottom of Lombard Street, the popular touristy thoroughfare that’s best known as the “Crookedest Street in The World.”

Hidden Cash’s anonymous creator said his giveaways are a “social experiment for good.” He claims to make his money off San Francisco’s hot and lucrative real estate market and hopes that winners also “pay it forward.”

Two of his winners said May 27 in San Francisco that they did just that.

Sergio Loza, 28, of San Francisco, said he saw a clue on Twitter on May 25 with the message “Early bird gets the worm.” He raced out and found an envelope with $50 inside taped to a parking meter in the city’s Mission District.

Loza said he spent $30 on clothes for his 2-year-old niece’s birthday and gave her the remaining $20 as well.

“I didn’t spend it on myself,” said Loza, a security guard. “It feels good to give, especially in these times.”

Adam Wenger, 27, said he won $200 by finding two envelopes about two hours apart May 23 in the city’s South of Market District. One envelope read, “With Love, from @HiddenCash. Leave $20 somewhere and pay it forward.”

Wenger, a web producer for KGO-Radio, bought pizza for his co-workers on May 27 and plans to pay a $100 parking ticket. “It’s crazy,” he said.

@HiddenCash said on Twitter that he planned to leave envelopes in San Jose on May 28, Los Angeles during the weekend and maybe New York City in June. Followers have requested similar gestures in Alabama, Washington, and as far away as Pakistan with various hashtags ranging from #kindness, #generous, #epic and #strange.

Loza said he sent @HiddenCash “a big shoutout” on Twitter thanking him for the money.

“It’s a positive thing. I hope he keeps it up,” Loza said. “While you probably can’t help the whole world, a few at a time is definitely good.”

On May 28, clues for hidden money started showing up in Boulder, Colo.

Half-sisters meet for the first time, after 85 years

JENKS, Okla. – A woman in her 80s met her 94-year-old half-sister over the Memorial Day weekend — the first time the siblings had ever see one another.

KOTV reports that Zelda Gates, 85, didn’t even know she had a half-sister until she read her father’s will.

On May 26, Gates finally met Reta Knight, her older half-sister, in Jenks, about 12 miles south of Tulsa.

Knight says her father left her and her mother and she always wondered why. She says her mother was evasive when she asked, so she didn’t push the subject.

Family members used old pictures and online genealogy resources to make sure of the connection.

Gates says meeting her sister for the first time was wonderful. She noted that the two look alike too.

Theft of urinal items stumps Alabama officials

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – Officials say they’re investigating a series of thefts involving metal urinal components from restaurant bathrooms.

Jefferson County sheriff’s spokesman Randy Christian told Al.com Wednesday that authorities have been told of a man walking into men’s rooms and stealing flush valves and supply lines from urinals. Authorities say the man left each business without being noticed.

Christian says the pipes weren’t made of copper and would have little value if a thief tried selling them as scrap metal. Christian says officials are unsure why the items are being stolen.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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