In College Station, Texas, the Peach Creek Vineyard is trying out a new concept for its wine-tasting events: wine with alpacas. Teaming up with the Bluebonnet Hills Alpaca Ranch, the vineyard offers customers the chance to pet and take selfies with alpacas while sipping wine and shopping for yarn, wool or clothing. “In 24 hours, we were sold out,” vineyard owner Kenneth Stolpman said. One event sold out so quickly Stolpman had to turn away more than 1,000 people.
Creme de la Weird
In St. John’s, Newfoundland, Canada, Lucas Dawe appeared in court to face charges of possessing stolen skeletal remains. According to court documents, Dawe is suspected of stealing a skeleton, estimated to be more than 100 years old, from the All Saints Parish cemetery. The skeleton was found along a walking trail, and police were led to Dawe after a witness reported seeing him licking the bones. He was also charged with interfering with human remains, after he was accused of boiling the bones and drinking the water.
What’s In A Name?
Residents of a particular neighborhood in the Denver suburb of Cherry Hills Village may not have ever known the name of their subdivision. It didn’t appear on signs, but could be found in the fine print of real estate documents. Nonetheless, the Cherry Hills Village City Council voted unanimously to change the neighborhood’s name from Swastika Acres to Old Cherry Hills. Councilman Dan Sheldon explained that the name came from the Denver Land Swastika Co., which divided the land into plots in the early 20th century, before the Nazis appropriated the symbol: “There was nothing wrong with (the name) at that time,” Sheldon said. Only one resident opposed the name change. “She thought it was important to preserve that historical value of that symbol … even though she herself lost family members in the Holocaust.”
Some days everything goes right. So it was for the Polk County Sheriff’s officers who responded to a call from Marta Diaz in Winter Haven, Fla. Diaz’s car, a tan Jeep Patriot, had been stolen earlier in the day. As the officers took Diaz’s statement, that same tan Jeep pulled up in front of the house, and Ronnie Dillon Willis emerged, telling deputies he was “looking for his cellular phone, which was pinging back to the residence.” Diaz told the officers she didn’t know Willis but had seen him earlier on her street. Willis told the officers he woke up that morning at that location, inside a vehicle, but he wasn’t sure if it was in the Jeep or the minivan also parked there. He knocked on the door of the house, but when no one answered, he took the Jeep to look for his phone, which was missing. The deputies arrested Willis for grand theft of a motor vehicle; Willis also had a suspended license, for which he received a traffic citation.
Latest Religious Messages
Over Easter weekend, hundreds of people visited a gum tree in a suburb of Perth, Australia, after the tree appeared to start “weeping” on Good Friday, which the faithful took to be a divine sign. For three days, the tree continued to leak water from a branch stump, provoking people to drink the “holy” water and bathe in it. “What made it exciting yesterday, a man decided to take all his clothes off and have a shower,” remarked neighbor Jacqui Bacich. The excitement died down after the Water Corporation discovered the tree’s roots had wrapped around a cracked iron water pipe about a foot underground, and the leaking water had slowly filled up a hollow part of the trunk.
What Goes Up …
Two years ago, Dion Callaway was attempting a high-speed landing after skydiving at the Cloverdale Municipal Airport in Sonoma County, Calif., when he shattered his left heel. He eventually had to have his leg amputated below the knee. On April 21, the Santa Rosa resident was back at it, skydiving, when he lost his leg again… His $15,000 prosthetic leg “just flew off,” Callaway said. “I’ve jumped with the prosthetic before, but a rush of air got inside this time. I tried to watch where it was falling, but … I could not keep track.” Early the next morning, workers at Redwood Empire lumberyard spotted something they first thought was a soda can. Yard production manager Micah Smith said his first reaction was, “Oh, that’s not a soda can, that’s a leg … where’s the rest?” The story ended happily after Smith called the sheriff’s office, where Callaway picked up his leg later that day. “Skydiving is my everything,” Callaway said. “I always seem to come back to it.”
… Must Come Down
Members of England’s Colchester United Football Club were confused by the cheeseburger they found on the pitch at their training ground in March. “When we discovered the burger … we weren’t quite sure what to think,” media manager Matt Hudson said. But Tom Stanniland, who was tracking the burger, knew exactly what had happened and called the club to explain. “I sent a burger into space using a weather balloon,” Stanniland said. “It had gone about 24 miles up and the weather balloon popped. It’s … traveled over 100 miles and landed.” The burger was attached with a zip tie to a styrofoam box fitted with a GoPro camera and a tracking device. Stanniland took a bite out of the burger after retrieving it, but wasn’t impressed: “That’s not nice,” he said.
The news on Easter was full of videos of a man in a bunny costume involved in a brawl in Orlando, Fla., who claimed innocence by saying he was defending a woman who had been spit on. “I am the type of person who avoids fights by any means necessary, but in that situation, I would fight any day,” Antoine McDonald said. But McDonald has a rap sheet that belies this chivalrous image. The Pasco County Sheriff’s Office said McDonald is wanted in New Jersey in connection with a vehicle burglary and was a person of interest in a carjacking and two armed robberies in Florida. Police in Dover, Del., report arresting McDonald for two armed robberies there in 2017. No arrests were made in the Orlando incident.
Police in Phoenix responding to a suspected child abuse call arrived in time to see Rebecca Gonzales slap and punch her 7-year-old son in the parking lot of a Walmart store. The boy, according to court documents, had been at Walmart with his grandmother and was supposed to be Grandma’s lookout while she shoplifted, but Gonzales wasn’t happy with his performance. The boy, whose mouth was bleeding, told police his mother hit him because “he didn’t watch out for his grandma good enough.” Gonzales was arrested for aggravated assault.
At a Rotterdam, N.Y., Walmart, two men pulled off a well-choreographed scam that cost the store $2,000. The men purchased three laptops, for which they paid cash. But after the cashier counted the money, one man asked for it back, saying he wanted to make sure he hadn’t paid too much. The other man then started dancing around the checkout area as a distraction. The man with the money gave some of it back to the cashier, but pocketed the rest, and the clerk did not recount the cash. Police are still looking for the suspects, who were captured on surveillance video.
Making A Marriage Deal
In Granville County, N.C., Melissa Anne Godshall and her boyfriend, Robert J. Kennerley, were panhandling on the side of the road when a car pulled over and Godshall received an unusual proposal. Levan Lomtatidze from the nation of Georgia, would pay her $12,000, give her a car and make rent payments for her if she would marry him so he could stay in the United States. She agreed, and Kennerley served as a witness at their nuptials. Godshall and Lomtatidze were later indicted by a federal grand jury and charged with conspiracy to commit marriage fraud, visa fraud and making false statements in immigration proceedings. If convicted, the two face 30 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Best man Kennerley also faces prison time and fines for aiding and abetting marriage fraud.
Idiom In Action
In Ljubljana, Slovenia, a 21-year-old woman and a 29-year-old relative were arrested for insurance fraud, after the young woman cut off her hand in order to collect almost 400,000 euros in insurance payments. Two other relatives were released in the case. The four had recently signed up with five different insurance companies for life and injury coverage. “With one of her accomplices, she intentionally amputated the hand at the wrist with a circular saw, hoping to stage it as an accident,” said police spokesman Valter Zrinski. The group left the hand behind when they went to the hospital, intending to ensure a permanent disability, but doctors at the Ljubljana University Medical Center were able to retrieve and re-attach it. The woman and her accomplice face up to eight years in prison.