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Nov. 14, 2012 at 6:30 AM   |   Comments

Barnum, Masterson added to Hall of Fame

ORLANDO, Fla., Nov. 13 (UPI) -- The International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions announced in Florida Bob Masterson and P.T. Barnum have been inducted into the Hall of Fame.

The group announced Tuesday at the IAAPA Attractions Expo 2012 in Orlando Masterson and Barnum are the 87th and 88th inductees into the hall, which was established in 1990.

Masterson, chairman of Amusement Management Partners LLC, is best known for his 25 years as head of Ripley's Entertainment, growing the brand from 11 locations to more than 73 museum attractions, aquariums and theaters in 13 countries by 2009.

Barnum, who died in 1891 at age 81, was honored for his contributions to the mobile attractions industry via the 142-year-old Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus. He also pioneered The American Museum in New York from 1841 to 1865.

Previous Hall of Fame inductees include Walt Disney, Milton Hershey and Jay Stein.


Florida forest snake likely a released pet

OCALA, Fla., Nov. 13 (UPI) -- A 7-foot boa constrictor captured in Florida's Ocala National Forest was likely a pet released into the wild, experts said.

Robert Robins of the Florida Museum of Natural History in Gainesville, said the boa constrictor caught Sunday was likely a former pet and not a wandering member of the wild breeding colonies in the Everglades, which were also started by released pets, Ocala.com reported Tuesday.

Robins said it was unlikely snakes would establish breeding populations in Marion County and the Ocala National Forest due to occasional cold weather.

"I wouldn't go out on a limb and say they couldn't become established," he said. "Boa constrictors have a large range that extends from Central America to Argentina. Some are more cold tolerant than others."


Baby becomes Internet star after surgery

CLEVELAND, Nov. 13 (UPI) -- The parents of a 3-month-old boy who received open heart surgery in Ohio said a picture of the infant recovering has made him an Internet celebrity.

Joe Powling said his son, Joey, was born with a heart defect called tetralogy of Fallot and a picture taken of the baby appearing to smirk at the camera only five days after his Oct. 25 open-heart surgery to correct the problem at Rainbow Babies and Children's Hospital in Cleveland quickly received more than 1.6 million "likes" on Facebook, ABC News reported Tuesday.

The infant also became the star of a series of online images titled "Ridiculously Good-Looking Surgery Baby," which added different captures to the photo.

"If Chuck Norris had a baby, he'd almost be as tough as this," one of the image captions reads.

"That one's my favorite," Powling said. "He'll usually give you a little smirk like that."

Powling said the surgery was a success, but Joey will need a second procedure in about a year.


Robber disguised with prosthetics

LONDON, Nov. 13 (UPI) -- A London 16-year-old who wore prosthetics to disguise himself as an elderly man while committing armed robberies was sentenced to five years in prison.

Miles Alura, 16, was sentenced to prison Friday in Kingston Crown Court after he pleaded guilty to robbery, conspiracy to rob and possession of an imitation firearm.

Police said Alura and two teenaged accomplices -- a 16-year-old old sentenced to 3 years in prison and a 15-year-old subjected to a 12 month detention and training order -- committed a robbery July 3 at a jewelry store in Longfield, England. Investigators said Alura donned facial prosthetics, make-up and a hair piece to pose as an elderly man during the crime.

The suspects were arrested near the scene and police tied them to a June 7 robbery at a London jewelry shop.

© 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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