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Sept. 17, 2012 at 6:30 AM   |   Comments

Isaac-decapitated statue to be repaired

NEW ORLEANS, Sept. 17 (UPI) -- Muffler Man, the 18-foot-tall fiberglass giant knocked down, decapitated and dismembered by Hurricane Isaac will rise again, his Louisiana owner says.

Muffler Man had stood outside the Auto Title Transfer Co. in Metairie the past 35 years. He got his name because before that he was a Midas Muffler shop advertising icon.

Up until Aug. 29, Muffler Man had weathered all manners of storms, including 2005's Hurricane Katrina.

"We always get nervous during hurricane season, but we never thought a Category 1 storm would take down the big man," owner Sal Mortillaro II said.

But Isaac got the better of him, sending the statue crashing to the ground, The (New Orleans) Times-Picayune reported Sunday. His head was found several blocks away. One arm is still missing.

"It really killed me to see it like that," Mortillaro said. "I said 'This really sucks.' I was imagining this big-ass head rolling down the street."

His father, Sal Sr., who bought Muffler Man for $500 back in the '70s, said he was devastated.

"My heart sunk. I protect him more than I do my own house," the elder Mortillaro said.

The Mortillaros plan to restore the statue, one of about 250 in the United States, and get him back up in front of their business, the newspaper said.

"My dad bought him to be noticed, and he is noticed," Mortillaro said. "He is a focal point, a reference point for direction, and he will be back."


Chicago's O'Hare wants a few good goats

CHICAGO, Sept. 15 (UPI) -- Chicago's aviation authority is looking for at least two dozen hungry goats to eat down acres of weedy property around O'Hare International Airport.

About 100 acres of land around the country's second-busiest airport after Atlanta have become overgrown with grass and weeds, which is attracting birds that are hazardous to aircraft, the Chicago Sun-Times reported Saturday.

The land is difficult to access with heavy mowing machines, so the decision was made to seek out an animal solution to eat the foliage, aviation spokeswoman Amy Malick told the newspaper.

"Sheep, goats -- it could be any grazing animal. We don't discriminate," Malick said.

So far, the authority has heard from five candidates willing to bring their herd to the airport perimeter.

Whoever lands the deal must also provide portable fencing to contain the grazers and prevent runway encounters, Malick said.

Earlier this week, goats and sheep were deployed around Atlanta's Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport to munch away non-native, invasive, fast-growing plant species, the report said.


Lost ID lands Florida teen in jail again

PUNTA GORDA, Fla., Sept. 15 (UPI) -- Florida deputies said a seasoned alleged shoplifter who dropped his wallet in his latest alleged caper was being held without bond since it was his 28th arrest.

Aaron Watts, 18, not only lost his ID card when he tried to flee the Punta Gorda Walmart with three boxes of cough syrup, but left behind his cap and shoes as well.

Charlotte County sheriff's deputies said in a statement they spotted Watts on a bicycle early Friday and picked him up.

He was charged with petty theft but the South Florida Sun Sentinel said he was not granted bond due his rap sheet, which stretched back to his days as a juvenile.


Survey: More women than men sleep with pet

YONKERS, N.Y., Sept. 15 (UPI) -- Most men and women have similar attitudes about their pets, except women are much more likely to sleep with their dog or cat, a U.S. survey indicates.

A survey by Consumer Reports subscribers who owned a cat or dog, or both, found 70 percent of U.S. women slept with their pet compared with 57 percent of men.

Women were also a lot more likely to sign birthday or holiday cards with a pet's name or picture, and give holiday gifts to Fido and Fluffy.

About one-third of both men and women said they put pictures of their pet on social media sites such as Facebook, but only 2 percent of either men or women said they created a Facebook page or some other social media site in their pet's name.

An equal number of men and women said, "Money is no object" when asked to pick an amount they would spend if a pet needed lifesaving treatment. However, when asked the most they had ever spent on their pet for a veterinary procedure, readers cited an average of $609. The average most would spend to save their pet's life: $1,620 -- or $1,824 for dog owners; $1,309 for cat owners.

© 2012 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
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