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  |   Feb. 1, 2013 at 6:30 AM
Man finds valuable whale vomit on beach

MORECAMBE, England, Jan. 31 (UPI) -- A British man said he was walking his dog on the beach when the canine discovered a lump of whale vomit -- also known as ambergris -- worth some $158,550.

Ken Wilman said his boxer, Madge, discovered the smelly lump on a Morecambe, England, beach and an online search identified the 6-pound object as ambergris, an ingredient in perfume that could be worth as much as $158,550, The Mirror reported Thursday.

"It smelled horrible. I left it, came back home and looked it up on the Internet," Wilman said. "When I saw how much it could be worth, I went back and grabbed it. It is like walking on the beach and finding a bag of 50,000 pounds [$79,275] in cash."

Wilman said he will send a sample of the lump to France to verify it is authentic ambergris, vomit from a sperm whale.


Woman wants to save 300-year-old tree

DEPTFORD, N.J., Jan. 31 (UPI) -- A New Jersey woman is pleading with a local church not to allow the power company to cut down a 300-year-old white oak.

Bev Nicholson, 71, who now lives in Deptford but formerly lived in Monroeville and was married at the Aura United Methodist Church, said her grandson was the first member of her family to notice a red X painted on the tree outside the church, the South Jersey Times reported Thursday.

"My family and one of the members on the church board are the only ones upset," Nicholson said.

She said she learned the power company offered to cut down the tree on church property for no charge. She did not say why the power company wants the tree gone.

"I talked to the minister of the church and he told me, if he had his way, all the trees in the area would be cut down," Nicholson said. "The only one with me is Ethel Ashenfelter on the church board, and she told me she's outnumbered."

Nicholson said the mayor told her he could not do anything about the plan because the tree is on private property.


Man charged in avocado assault

NEW YORK, Jan. 31 (UPI) -- The New York Police Department said a man was arrested for allegedly throwing an avocado that hit a grocery store worker in the face.

Police said Joe Testa, 45, brought the avocados to the Stop & Shop supermarket in Brooklyn's Sheepshead Bay neighborhood around 3 p.m. Tuesday and argued with a 24-year-old woman who works at the store, the New York Daily News reported Thursday.

Testa allegedly threw one of the fruits at the woman, striking her in the face. She was treated for bruising and released from Lutheran Medical Center.

Testa was charged with misdemeanor assault.

Police did not say why he brought the avocados to the store.


Court orders boy, 12, to get a job

EASTHAMPTON, Mass., Jan. 31 (UPI) -- A Massachusetts appeals court upheld a judge's order for a 12-year-old tagger to get a job so he can pay $1,000 restitution to his victim.

The boy, who was 11 at the time of the crime, had been ordered to pay restitution to his Easthampton neighbors in exchange for having charges of juvenile delinquency put on hold for one year, and Juvenile Court Judge James Collins extended the probation for four years and ordered the youth -- identified under the pseudonym "Avram" in court papers -- to get a job when he failed to pay the damages within the allotted year, the Boston Globe reported Thursday.

Attorney Craig Bartolomei filed an appeal on behalf of the boy, but the ruling was upheld Wednesday by the Massachusetts Appeals Court.

"The state itself limits what they [12-year-olds] can do," Bartolomei said. "They can be actors, with a permit. They can work a farm, and they can basically deliver newspapers. But kids don't deliver newspapers anymore."

However, the court offered some employment suggestions for Avram.

The boy can "earn money by obtaining a paper route, mowing lawns, raking leaves, shoveling snow, baby-sitting, delivering groceries or by recycling items upon which a deposit had been paid," Judge William Meade wrote in the three-judge panel's decision.

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