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 V.16 No.5 | February 1 - 7, 2007 

Odds & Ends

Dateline: The Netherlands--Terrie Berenden, a pet shop owner in the southern Dutch town of Zelhem, has invented the world’s first beer for dogs. Berenden created the brew, made from beef extract and malt, specifically for her pet Weimaraners. “Once a year we go to Austria to hunt with our dogs, and at the end of the day we sit on the veranda and drink beer. So we thought, my dog has also earned it,” she said. A local Dutch brewery was consigned to make the nonalcoholic drink, called Kwispelbier. The beer is fit for human consumption as well, but at 1.65 euros a bottle ($2.14), it’s about four times more expensive than a Heineken.

Dateline: Bosnia--A surgery patient at a hospital in Kasindol got so fed up waiting for a crucial piece of equipment to be fixed that he spent seven hours repairing it himself so that his operation could proceed. Doctors had told car mechanic Slobodon Mocevic, 56, his operation to remove a painful kidney stone had to be canceled because of faulty equipment. Seems the hospital’s extracorporeal shock wave lithotripsy machine, a device designed to break down kidney stones by sending a sonic wave through the patient’s body, was nonfunctional. Mocevic asked to borrow a set of tools and then stripped down and repaired the machine himself. “I was in agony, and there was no way I could have waited any longer,” Mocevic told reporters.

Dateline: Michigan--Have you heard about those e-mail banking scams from Nigeria? You know, the ones that promise in broken English to transfer millions into your bank account if you’ll only send a few money orders to Africa to get the ball rolling? Well, unfortunately, longtime Alcona County treasurer Thomas Katona hasn’t. Katona was accused last Wednesday in an embezzlement scheme in which he sent up to $1.25 million in county funds and his own life savings to online con artists. According to the Detroit Free Press, Katona, 56, of Harrisville was charged with nine felonies, including embezzlement and fraud, after a month-long investigation by state authorities of numerous unauthorized wire transfers he allegedly made of county funds to overseas bank accounts. Law enforcement officials believe the accounts were controlled by operators of a Nigerian advance fee fraud, variations of which have been around for at least a decade. A preliminary audit of county finances indicated a shortfall of $1,236,700. It was unclear how much of that money was actually invested in the scheme. Alcona County has only 11,000 people and an annual budget of about $4 million. Katona had been treasurer for Alcona County for 13 years. He was relieved of his job in late November after the alleged fraud was uncovered. Matt Frendeway, a spokesperson for Michigan Attorney General Mike Cox, said investigators doubt any of the money will be recovered. “Every part of this makes you wonder, ‘What was he thinking?’” said Frendeway.

Dateline: South Carolina--The Island Packet newspaper reports that a 23-year-old Hilton Head Island man was charged with public disorderly conduct after a deputy observed him “in a physical altercation with shrubs.” The incident took place at 8:27 p.m. last Saturday night in the parking lot of the Carolina First Bank, according to a Beaufort County Sheriff’s report. Responding to a complaint that a man tried to get into a stranger’s car, a deputy called over to the suspect, who was punching vegetation. The man then ran across the bank’s parking lot to kick one last bush before talking to police. The unidentified hedge hater reportedly smelled of alcohol and was taken to the Beaufort County Detention Center.

Dateline: New York--Three thieves made it awfully easy for police when they allegedly stole 14 global positioning systems from the Town of Babylon Public Works Garage in Lindenhurst. Suffolk County police simply turned on the GPS devices and followed them to the home of Kurt Husfeldt, 46, who was holding one of the devices in his hand when officers arrived. Town officials said the thieves didn’t even know what they had stolen. Husfeldt, his 13-year-old son and 20-year-old Steven Mangiapanella all thought they had stolen cell phones, which they planned to sell. Husfeldt was charged with criminal possession of stolen property. His son and Mangiapanella were charged with grand larceny. Babylon installed 300 GPS devices in snow plows, dump trucks, street sweepers and other vehicles last January.

Dateline: New Jersey--Adam Koppel, 25, decided he’d impress his date by jumping off the Sea Bright-Rumson Bridge early last Saturday. It took four police officers, a bridge tender and two good Samaritans to pull the man from the frigid Shrewsbury River. Koppel was close to losing consciousness from hypothermia when he was pulled out of the water at 2 a.m. using a rope, a life preserver and a ladder. Police charged the Atlantic Highlands resident with disorderly conduct. To add insult to injury, Sea Bright Police Chief William Moore said Koppel’s date--whose identity wasn’t disclosed--told police it was only their second date, and there wouldn't be a third.

Compiled by Devin D. O'Leary. E-mail your weird news to devin@alibi.com.

 
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