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Oct. 31, 2011 at 6:00 AM
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Cat rescued after spending 5 days in tree

PORTSMOUTH, Va., Oct. 30 (UPI) -- A Portsmouth, Va., family's cat was finally rescued after spending five days stuck in a pine tree 40 feet off the ground.

The Portsmouth Fire, Rescue and Emergency Services tried several times Friday to get Furball Whiskers out of the tree he climbed up after being chased by neighborhood dogs Monday, The (Norfolk) Virginian-Pilot reported. Nearby power lines prevented the crews from using a ladder truck.

Firefighters drove past the tree three times Friday, hoping the cat would come within reach, but the cat was too tired, scared and hungry to move from his perch.

"I was shocked at how helpful and concerned they were," Faith Martins, Furball's owner, said.

Martins spent Saturday morning calling tree services to find someone who would attempt a rescue. Mitchell MacCartney of Pro Tree Care in Norfolk said he would do it.

Using spikes and a wraparound belt, MacCartney climbed the tree, lured the cat to him with tuna, grabbed him and brought him safely to the ground.

Martins said she had to keep her daughter, Amy and Viola, inside the house during the rescue, in case things went badly. When it ended well, the girls were happy to see their cat again.

"They're very excited," Martins said.

2 arrested in pizza war arson

LAKE CITY, Fla., Oct. 30 (UPI) -- Two managers at a Lake City, Fla., Domino's Pizza restaurant were charged with arson after allegedly torching a Papa John's Pizza location, police said.

Lake City police arrested Domino's manager Sean Everett Davidson, 23, Thursday for the Oct. 20 fire, the Ocala (Fla.) Star-Banner reported. The second manager, Bryan David Sullivan, 22, was arrested Friday after being questioned by police.

Police allege the two confessed to the crime and their motive was that their Domino's location would receive more business if the Papa John's Pizza restaurant was put out of business.

The fire was discovered early Oct. 20, police said. By the time it was brought under control, the establishment had been gutted.

During an interview with police, the suspects allegedly told police they made an ignition device by using a clock, a 9-volt battery, a golf-ball-size amount of gunpowder and a plastic bag.

Davidson and Sullivan told police they dismantled the ignition device later and threw it out of their car while driving away, the newspaper said. Police had yet to recover the device for evidence.

'Frequent climber' rescued -- twice

CHICAGO, Oct. 30 (UPI) -- A man Chicago officials call a "frequent climber" was brought down from a 25-foot traffic signal Sunday -- his second "ascent" in 24 hours, police said.

The 38-year-old man was lowered from the traffic signal in the city's River North neighborhood by fire and police crews using a hydraulic cherry-picker, Chicago Police News Affairs Officer John Mirabelli told the Chicago Tribune.

The man, whose identity was not released, was taken into custody and was charged with misdemeanor reckless conduct.

Less than 24 hours earlier, he had climbed a light pole in the Gold Coast neighborhood, consenting to be taken down only after being given some orange juice and bread from a nearby restaurant, police said.

The man removes his shoes and shimmies his way quickly up light poles before apparently becoming stuck once at the top, Chicago Fire Department commander Sean Flynn said.

Officials say the man is a "frequent climber" but can't give any specific reason for his actions, Flynn said.

Runners suit up as gorillas for charity

DENVER, Oct. 30 (UPI) -- More than a thousand runners dressed in ape suits took part in an annual 5K Gorilla Run for charity in Denver, event organizers said.

The eighth annual run in to raise money for the Denver-based Mountain Gorilla Conservation Fund attracted more than 1,200 runners dressed in gorilla suits to the starting point at the Wynkoop Brewery Saturday, The Denver Post reported.

"It's strictly built on fun and raising awareness," said Frank Keesling, 46, who runs the event each year.

"We have to be the largest importer of gorilla suits in the country," Keesling joked.

Keesling said his mother Ruth, 83, is the real force behind the event.

Ruth Keesling became interested in gorilla conservation after she met primatologist Dian Fossey in 1983, her son said, and after Fossey was murdered in Rwanda in 1985 was determined to continue her work protecting the endangered mountain gorillas of Central Africa.

This year's event raised $90,000 for MGCF efforts in Africa, Frank Keesling estimated.

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