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Oct. 26, 2012 at 6:00 AM
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Life-sized figures being auctioned

CARMEL, Ind., Oct. 25 (UPI) -- An Indiana auction house is selling a collection of life-sized figures created by an artist after the death of his wife.

Wickliff Auctioneers, which is selling the collection Saturday at Wickliff's Carmel Gallery, said the late Bob Wietholter built a collection of "friends" and placed them around his home following the death of his wife four years ago, the Indianapolis Star reported Thursday.

Kyle Wietholter, Bob's son, said her father honed his skills building figures for window displays at his Country Squire Flower Shop. He said his father was a renowned florist who was among a team hired to decorate the White House for President Gerald Ford.

"It was something to keep him busy just something for him to do," Kyle Wietholter said of the figures. "Let me put it this way, my brother and I never heard him talking to them. To him, they were just decorations."

Darin Lawson, president of Wickliff Auctioneers, said the company has "never sold an estate collection as unique as this."

Monkey caught after four years on the lam

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla., Oct. 25 (UPI) -- A rhesus macaque monkey on the loose for nearly four years in Florida's Tampa Bay region has been caught by trappers.

Veterinarian Don Woodman was able to shoot the monkey, named Cornelius after the character from "Planet of the Apes," with a tranquilizer dart Wednesday while it was inspecting a trap wildlife rescuer Vernon Yates had placed near the St. Petersburg home of Elizabeth Fowler.

Fowler, 60, was bitten by the monkey a few weeks ago, the Tampa Bay (Fla.) Times reported.

Yates was able to ensnare the monkey with a catch pole and it soon fell asleep from the tranquilizer.

"It was nice to have done the job and done it well and done it smoothly," Woodman said.

Woodman and Yates said Cornelius, who had been on the loose in the area for nearly four years, was quarantined Wednesday evening and will be sent to a sanctuary to live with other monkeys if his health checks out.

Lady Liberty now wheelchair accessible

NEW YORK, Oct. 25 (UPI) -- The Statue of Liberty in New York will be wheelchair accessible for the first time when it opens this weekend after a year of renovations, officials said.

Statue of Liberty Superintendent David Luchsinger said the renovations, which include installing new staircases and an elevator designed for wheelchair-bound guests who wish to visit the observation decks, will allow about 26,000 more people to visit the monument per year when it reopens on its 126th birthday Sunday, CNN reported Thursday.

Luchsinger said about 3.5 million people visit the statue each year.

"Folks that have never been able to maneuver on the staircases can now go all the way up to the observation deck and experience that," he said. "She's not only our Statue of Liberty, she's the world's Statue of Liberty."

Larry Hughes, a Vietnam War veteran, was chosen as the first wheelchair user to test out the elevator.

"You see this stuff on TV ... but to actually be here, it takes on a whole brand new dimension," Hughes said.

Dubai Mall opens world's largest shoe shop

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates, Oct. 25 (UPI) -- The world's largest shopping mall in Dubai announced the opening of a 96,000-square-foot shoe store billed as the world's largest.

The Dubai Mall said Shoe District, which opened to the public Friday, is located just beyond the facility's popular aquarium and includes big-name brands such as Dior, LV, Prada, Todd's, Fred Perry, Berluti, Bally, Paul Smith and Kate Spade, Xpress newspaper Dubai reported Thursday.

The store also includes a cobbler shoe repair service and a shop called the Vogue Cafe with accessories, books, toys and gadgets.

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