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Oct. 5, 2011 at 6:00 AM
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Veggie grower accepts Snoop Dogg invite

CARDIFF, Wales, Oct. 5 (UPI) -- A Welsh man who caught the attention of rapper Snoop Dogg by growing an 85.5-pound rutabaga said he has accepted the star's offer of free concert tickets.

Ian Neale, 68, of Newport, Wales, received a YouTube "shout out" from Snoop after he plucked the gargantuan vegetable from his garden last month, Sky News reported Tuesday.

"Man, I want to tell you something, when I do my show in Cardiff, I want you to come backstage and see me because I do vegetation myself and I want to know your secret," the rapper said in the video. "So Ian Neale ... come see your boy Snoop Dogg, I've got two tickets for you when I get to town. Ya dig?"

Neale said he was honored by the offer from the rapper to attend his Oct. 8 show at Cardiff's Motorpoint Arena.

"I've never heard of him. ... I'm a country and western man myself," Neale said.

The grower, who has been producing oversized veggies for 30 years, said he initially planned to decline the offer, but he was convinced otherwise by a coworker.

"She nearly wiped the floor with me. ... So we're going to go along together," he said.

Neale said he would be happy to share his techniques with Snoop Dogg.

"You shouldn't let secrets go to the grave," he said. "When you get to a show, we all talk about how we plant them and what liquid feed we use."

Celebs help students get up for school

SEATTLE, Oct. 5 (UPI) -- A non-profit is teaming with U.S. cities including Seattle to record celebrity wake-up calls for students to ensure they get up in time for school.

The Get Schooled Foundation, a non-profit affiliated with the Gates Foundation, said celebrities including Jesse McCartney, Nicki Minaj, Baron Davis and Wiz Khalifa have recorded wake-up messages students in certain districts can sign up to receive, The Seattle Times reported Tuesday.

The foundation teamed with Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn's office, the Alliance for Education and Seattle Public Schools to provide the calls as part of the city's "Be There Get There" campaign.

"Woody Allen said that 95 percent of success in life is just showing up, and it's true," McGinn said in announcing the campaign Monday. "But it really helps to have some friends helping you out, and that's what we're trying to do."

The city is aiming for 80 percent of its students to miss fewer than 10 days of school by 2013, a dramatic improvement from the 62 percent recorded in 2009.

Missing cornerstone was taken by sheriff

PORTSMOUTH, Va., Oct. 5 (UPI) -- The mystery of a missing cornerstone from a closed-down Virginia high school was solved when the sheriff revealed he took it for display at an annual event.

The cornerstone from Cradock High School in Portsmouth, which closed down in 1992, was reported stolen to police last week with the city listed as the victim, and Sheriff Bill Watson, a 1965 graduate of the school, revealed he had his inmate work crew remove the stone to save it from demolition and preserve it for the annual "Come Home to Cradock" event Oct. 22, The (Norfolk) Virginian-Pilot reported Tuesday.

Watson said he discussed his plans with Deputy City Manager Richard Hartman, who "said he had no problem."

However, Hartman said he had briefly discussed the issue with Watson and told him the stone could be removed when the building is torn down, as it is soon expected to be to make room for a housing development.

"I didn't have any impression that he was going to go out and take it then," Hartman said.

Watson said the school's alumni committee is discussing possible places to permanently display the cornerstone.

Authorities seek 'Butterfingers Bandit'

HOUSTON, Oct. 5 (UPI) -- FBI agents in Houston said they are searching for the "Butterfingers Bandit," a woman who dropped her pilfered money during a bank robbery.

The agents said the woman walked into the J.P. Morgan Chase bank branch at 12401 South Post Oak shortly before 9:30 a.m. Monday and handed a note demanding money to a teller, the Houston Chronicle reported Tuesday.

Investigators said the woman dropped the money as it was handed to her and cursed loudly, drawing the attention of other people in the bank. She picked the money up from the floor and fled the facility, agents said.

The woman was described as between the ages of 40 and 45 with a large build. She was wearing a New Orleans Saints cap at the time of the incident.

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