Offbeat News: An Army of Chickens, Stupid Criminals & More

China has announced plans to unleash an army of chickens to combat its locust problem this summer. The northern region of Shin-jang is gearing up for what’s expected to be its worst summer yet with the critters given their warmer winter.

You see, locusts typically feed off of crops and other vegetation. According to Yang Zong, an official with the local animal husbandry bureau, around 2,200 chickens are preparing for feeding time. About 2.8-million acres of grassland are expected to get hit with the locusts.

Yang points out that “use of pesticides pollutes the environment,” therefore they’re using the chickens. Herdsmen have been given the birds ahead of the outbreak so they can adapt to the environment. One chicken is reportedly able to eat at least 600 locusts in a day, but they won’t do it alone. The nation is bringing in the reinforcements, aka ducks and other birds, to help the chickens out.

The down side? The chickens will only be able to guard one percent of the grasslands that need protection.

A woman who’d just traveled from Serbia to Moscow had reached for her bags on the luggage carousel when she accidentally fell on it. The woman had reportedly lost her balance in an attempt to grab her dog carrier off the belt and was “swept away” into the luggage room. Adding insult to injury, the airport has fined her for the accident after damaging the airport’s freight transportation system. She’ll be billed at the max 1,500 rubles, which is the equivalent of $24.

The Chinese cities of Chongqing and Hunan have recently installed facial recognition technology inside their public bathrooms as part of their “toilet revolution.” The technology will be used to sense how much toilet paper will dispense in hopes of cutting back on waste and “theft of paper.” There will also be sensors inside toilet cubicles to alert an attendant if someone has been using the loo for more than 10 minutes. The attendant will be sent in to check on the person to see if they’re okay. Another button inside the stall can be pressed to alert if there is ever an emergency. Not surprisingly, the bathrooms are also equipped with WiFi and cell phone chargers.


  • A man in Birmingham, Alabama must have one strong smoking addiction… considering he’s been charged twice with stealing cigarettes. Joshua Magaul Sanders has been arrested after he smashed into the front door of two gas stations and stole cartons of cigarettes. Thing is, he was arrested back in 2015 for doing the same exact thing at an Exxon station and several other stores. His most recent escapades have happened between January and March. Sanders broke into multiple gas stations and put several cartons of cigarettes in a bag before fleeing. Police were able to identify him based on security cam footage. Once caught, Sanders said, “You caught me, I’m the cigarette bandit” and further admitted to his crimes. He’s been charged with two counts of third-degree burglary.
  • A drunk man in Florida had been hospitalized for falling off his bike and has now been arrested after hitting another man at the hospital with a folding chair. Jimmy McCray was being treated at Bayfront Health when he “jumped out of bed and approached his girlfriend in (the) emergency room.” Staff had asked him to return to his bed, but he got angry, picked up a metal folding chair and started swinging it around, hitting another man in the leg. Security was able to restrain him and strapped him into a hospital bed. He faces a charge of battery. The man hit by the chair only suffered minor injuries to his elbows after helping restrain McCray.

‘Soups On Us’ Part III of IV

Mahaska Health Partnership has sponsored a four-part learning series called “Soups On Us,” which offers enlightening facts and motivational tips to encourage a healthier lifestyle. These events are scheduled from noon until 1 PM at the Mahaska County YMCA Conference Room. They are free and open to the public, however registration is required by calling 641-672-3303. “Healthy Sleep” is the session that’ll be held on Thursday, April 12.

Elton John Tribute Airs On CBS

The CBS special “Elton John: I’m Still Standing” aired last night with several of today’s hottest stars coming out to celebrate the rock and roll legend. The special was shot back in February in New York following the GRAMMY Awards.

Among the performances: Miley Cyrus tackled  Elton’s classic “The Bitch is Back,” Ed Sheeran performed “Candle in the Wind,” Alessia Cara sang “I Guess That’s Why They Call It The Blues,” Lady Gagaperformed “Your Song,” Little Big Town performed “Rocket Man,” Sam Smith tackled “Daniel,” Kesha did “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road,” Chris Martin did “We All Fall in Love Sometimes,”  Shawn Mendes and SZAcollaborated on “Don’t Go Breaking My Heart,” Maren Morris did “Mona Lisas and Mad Hatters” and more.

Elton also performed himself, treating the crowd to “Bennie and the Jets,” “Philadelphia Freedom,” and “I’m Still Standing.”

Source: Dr. Dave’s Ultimate Prep

Indoor Pools Open at Beach Ottumwa

The indoor pools at the Beach Ottumwa will reopen Saturday, April 7 at 11 AM. Recent improvements include new overhead indoor LED lighting, painting of the indoor pools, and new concrete on the outdoor concession deck.

Offbeat News: A Puppy Gets a Tummy Tuck & More

“Puppy Tuck”

An overweight pup in Britain is set to undergo a “tummy tuck” surgery to get rid of all the loose skin happening because of her weight loss following being rescued. Hattie, affectionately known as “Hattie The Fattie” as some have nicknamed the collie was fed a diet of straight burgers before she was rescued by the RSPCA. She weighs in at 88 pounds and staff at the center say she looked more like a pot bellied pig than a dog when she was first brought in.

Staffers have put Hattie on a special diet since she’s been rescued and she’s lost around nine pounds, but they’ve started a fundraiser to help Hattie receive tummy tuck surgery to remove excess skin after weight loss.

“I just knew we had to try and help her,” says RSPCA worker Ruth Rickard. “I take her home with me at night so I can administer her insulin injections, which she tolerates very well. As the weight has started to come off we have found that she is very spirited and extremely loving, despite the fact we put her on a diet.”

“The Walking Fed”

Ohio police have been investigating reports of “zombie” raccoons. Residents in the Youngstown area have called police saying they’ve spotted raccoons in their yards during the day acting strangely. Raccoons are nocturnal and are usually only spotted at night. Robert Coggeshall spotted one in his yard while playing with his dogs.

“He would stand up on his hind legs, which I’ve never seen a raccoon do before, and he would show his teeth and then he would fall over backward and go into almost a comatose condition,” Robert explained.

The Ohio Department of Natural Resources says its not rabies, but a disease called distemper, which causes the symptons Coggeshall mentioned. They say the disease will stay local and eventually die off among the population.

“Lost and Found”

A samurai sword used to make wine was found among debris after the California fires. The Paradise Ridge Winery had kept the sword that belonged to samurai and winery owner Kanaye Nagasawa in the 1800’s. The fires burned the facility down, but after debris removal last month, the sword was recovered. Rene Byck, co-owner of the winery says it’s the “best news ever” and wants to rebuild an exhibition with the sword.


‘Experience Mahaska’ at Penn Central Mall This Sunday

(OSKALOOSA, Iowa) – Penn Central Mall will host “Experience Mahaska Community Activities & Events Expo” event in the Mall on Sunday, April 8. The event is designed to be an interactive introduction of all of the incredible clubs, activities, events and organizations available right here in the Mahaska County community. The event is open to the public and will be held at Penn Central Mall on Sunday, April 8th. Nearly 45 entities that offer “things to do” for all ages in the community will host stations from 1PM – 4PM.

The community is invited to attend and experience activities that are available right here in their community with hands-on, interactive stations that are creative, fun and unique.

Come walk the MCRF trail, checkout a racecar from Eddyville Raceway Park, see the KBOE/KMZN booth, play a spin the wheel trivia game with Hy-Vee and earn the chance to win Fuel Saver points, take an indoor “test ride” on a bike from Bobzilla’s Bicycle Werks and do much much more at the Experience Mahaska Events Expo.

“I am excited to see the community working together to get the word out about what’s happening in Mahaska County,” stated Mike Gipple, Mall manager. “It has been fun connecting with entities and clubs to be a part of this great event. In addition, we are incredibly thankful to MCRF and the Mahaska Co. YMCA for their assistance in making this unique event happen.”

Penn Central Mall will provide a sheet with descriptions and introductions of the stations at the event.

Offbeat News: Border Collie Patrol, Stupid Criminals & More

“Same Day Surprise”

Twin brothers Joshua and Justin Thorington were both in the hospital last week on the same day, for the same reason. Both of their wives were giving birth. First Joshua’s wife, Denise, gave birth to baby Jack and an hour later, Justin’s wife Alex arrived at the hospital… as she was in labor. Alex soon gave birth to baby Lucy. The couples had joked about it happening, but never thought it would come to fruition.

“At first it didn’t really hit me how unique this was, (maybe because I’m a twin),” said Justin. “But the more I think about it the more I realize how special it is.”

“Where the Dinosaurs Roam”

The world’s largest dinosaur footprints have been discovered on the Isle of Skye. The dinos are said to have roamed 170-million years ago. Dr. Steve Brusatte said based on the footprints found, “The sauropods were more than 49-feet-long and weighed more than 10-tons.”

They were also most likely wading in shallow water at the time the footprints were made. Scientists have found dozens more of the footprints nearby.

“Border Collie Patrol”

Yeager Airport in West Virginia is solving its biggest runway problem with the help of Hercules, an 18-month-old border collie. The airport has hired the dog to chase away birds and other animals that linger on the runway. Assistant director at Yeager, Nick Keller believes that once trained, Hercules will be able to reduce deadly animal collisions with planes. The staff will also be trained on how to work with the border collie as if he just a regular human colleague. He’s even getting a reflective vest, safety glasses and ear protection just like everyone else.


  • A Kansas woman called police when she returned home to find her door chained from the inside. She believed someone had broke into her house, but police never found anyone. Two-hours later her ex-boyfriends legs broke through the ceiling. Apparently, he’d been hiding in the attic. The good news? Her current boo was with her at the time and pulled Tyler Bergkamp the rest of the way through the ceiling. And while they did get into a fight, it’s Bergkamp who’s been arrested on aggravated burglary, stalking, criminal damage to property, criminal theft and possession of methamphetamine.
  • A woman in Alabama is arrested after setting fire to a ham that caused an explosion. Beverly Harrison’s family brought her the ham to the Bomar Inn where she resides, but Harrison refused to eat it. When they left she set fire to the package and through it in a garbage can. When smoke filled her room, Harrison fled the scene with her dog. According to police, the fire caused a can of butane fuel to explode. If Harrison is convicted of felony arson, she faces up to life in jail.

Elvis Presley Appears on ‘The Milton Berle Show’

On This Day in Rock: April 3

In 1956, Elvis Presley appeared on ABC-TV’s ‘The Milton Berle Show’ live from the flight deck of the USS Hancock in San Diego, California. He performed ‘Heartbreak Hotel’ ‘Shake Rattle And Roll’ and ‘Blue Suede Shoes.’ It was estimated that one out of every four Americans saw the show.

In 1967, Working on The Beatles Sgt. Pepper album at Abbey Road studios in London, George Harrison recorded his lead vocal on his song ‘Within You Without You’. as well as a sitar part, and some acoustic guitar parts.

In 1971, The Temptations scored their second US No.1 with ‘Just My Imagination (Running Away With Me)’. The track is considered one of the Temptations’ signature songs, and is notable for recalling the sound of the group’s 1960s recordings. It is also the final Temptations single to feature founding members Eddie Kendricks and Paul Williams.

In 1975, Steve Miller was charged with setting fire to the clothes of a friend, Benita Diorio. When police arrived at Miller’s house, Diorio was putting out the flames, Miller then got into a fight with some of the policemen and was charged with resisting arrest.

Color for a Cause During ‘Chalk the Walk’ in Oskaloosa

(OSKALOOSA, Iowa) – William Penn’s Digital Communication program is teaming up with FACE (Fine Arts and Cultural Events) and the United Way of Mahaska County to present the 5th annual Chalk the Walk fundraiser. This event will be held on the Oskaloosa downtown square on Saturday, April 21, from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. This year, Chalk the Walk will be a free-will donation with all proceeds going to the United Way of Mahaska County to support Operation Backpack. Individuals are welcome to join in, flood the sidewalk with color, and family friendly illustrations.

“This year our goal is to get as many people as possible to come to the square and make it as colorful as possible,” said Director of William Penn’s Digital Communication Program, Matt Wagner. “I’m proud of the students who continue to run with the event and make it better every year.”

Operation Backpack is a program which helps provide local children with essential school supplies that are needed to help them excel in their education. Members of Oskaloosa and the surrounding area are invited and encouraged to join in on the fun, leave their mark, and give back to the Oskaloosa community.

-This information was provided in a news release sent on behalf of William Penn University in Oskaloosa, Iowa.

Central College Celebrates Championship Softball Team

(PELLA, Iowa) – One of the most dominant teams in Central College athletics history will be recognized Saturday as the school’s 1993 NCAA Division III championship softball squad celebrates its 25th anniversary.

Returning team members will be saluted between games at Central’s Iowa Conference doubleheader with Simpson College Saturday. The first game starts at 1 p.m. at the A.N. Kuyper Athletics Complex softball field.

The 1993 squad posted a 38-2 mark en route to the third of four national titles for NFCA Hall of Fame coach George Wares. The Dutch lost just one regular-season game, to NCAA Division II foe Emporia State University (Kan.), and rolled up a 32-game win streak, an NCAA record at the time. Central dropped one tournament game en route to claiming the NCAA Division III West Regional crown at Pella, then stormed through the double-elimination Division III finals in Decatur, Illinois with three straight victories, including a 7-3 triumph over Trenton State College (now the College of New Jersey) in the title game.

Central had three all-America honorees in pitchers Missey Allen and Emily Grimes along with outfielder/designated player Jennifer Semler. Allen (16-0) led the nation with a school-record 0.25 earned run average and Grimes (19-1) was third nationally at 0.74. Grimes was also named the Iowa Conference MVP. Semler set a school mark with a .531 batting average. Wares was tabbed as the league’s coach of the year.

Center fielder Mindi Remsburg and third baseman Heather Reedy were voted to the CoSIDA Academic All-America squad.

Wares is now in his 34th year at Central and is the winningest coach in Division III history with a 1,110-378-3 career mark.

For more information on Saturday’s activities, contact the Central alumni office at 800-447-0287 or alumni@central.edu.


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