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Jan. 10, 2011 at 6:00 AM
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Man's aviary ruffles local feathers

NEW YORK, Jan. 9 (UPI) -- A New York City man has made his home into a bird sanctuary in gratitude for being spared in Vietnam, but his neighbors are not thankful.

The fence around Manny Loupadierre's house is adorned with hundreds of birdcages, birdhouses and model birds, drawing many birds -- and vermin, too, neighbors tell the New York Daily News.

"It harbors rats. It's ugly as sin but there is nothing I can do about it," said Brian Simpson. "It's disgusting."

Loupadiere, 65, said a bird kept him from getting shot while he was in the Air Force during the Vietnam War, the Daily News reported Sunday.

"My job was to pick up wounded soldiers," he said. "I was picking up a soldier when I heard a bird whistling in the tree. I looked up and when I did that a bullet went by my head. The bird saved my life."

The newspaper said it did not verify his military service.

Loupadiere said the cages attract songbirds who serenade him in the morning, and some neighbors bought him extra houses for Christmas.

Other neighbors say they have complained repeatedly, but the city said it has only received two calls in the past three years.

Woman charged with robbing dead boyfriend

MILTON, Fla., Jan. 8 (UPI) -- A Florida woman told police she is so "scatter-brained" she accidentally stuck an extra zero on a check for $100 written on her dead boyfriend's account.

Teresa Lynee McDonald's explanation did not wash, the Northwest Florida Daily News reported Wednesday. She faces a series of charges, including grand theft, the Santa Rosa County Sheriff said.

McDonald, 49, who lives in Navarre in the Florida Panhandle, said after her boyfriend died in February she had to raid his account to pay for the funeral, outstanding bills, real estate taxes and to get her car repaired.

Police reports say McDonald forged her boyfriend's name on checks worth a total of $23,470 including, presumably, the accidental $1,000 check.

Man wants $45,000 engagement ring back

CHICAGO, Jan. 8 (UPI) -- The man sued for nearly $100,000 in wedding expenses is now suing his ex-bride for the return of a $45,500 ring, court documents in Chicago say.

Vito Salerno said the wants his 3-carat engagement ring back and said the decision to cancel his marriage to Dominique Buttitta was mutual, the Chicago Sun-Times reported.

Buttitta, citing breach of contract, sued Salerno for almost $100,000 after the wedding was canceled. The wedding was called off after details of a bachelor party were revealed.

Buttitta claimed Salerno left her holding the bag for more than $60,000 in expenses, but in the suit Salerno filed Wednesday in Cook County, he said he contributed $15,000 in expenses for the canceled wedding.

In his suit, Salerno said he was "intentionally" kept in the dark about wedding expenses and that the bride's family contributed to the breakup.

Salerno said he felt pressured to buy the expensive ring, believing that "Dominique expected a large ring because Dominique's mother has an 8-carat in which Dominique's family refers to as 'Rocky.'"

Contractors demolish wrong house

PITTSBURGH, Jan. 8 (UPI) -- A Pittsburgh man said his house was demolished by mistake when a city contractor took it down along with a neighboring home.

Andre Hall said the house, which the city agreed not to demolish for 6 months when he bought it in November, had been demolished with a backhoe when he arrived to work on the property Monday, WPIX-TV, Pittsburgh, reported Friday.

"I leave for the holidays, come back and see a backhoe sitting on my house," Hall said. "This is not the way I thought I would start off my new year."

The Pittsburgh Bureau of Building Inspection said the contractors were told to demolish a neighboring home and instead took down both houses.

Hall said he has a copy of the letter sent by city officials to contractors PJ Deller. He said the document bears the message, "Do not demolish" in large, bold letters.

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