Archive for February 25, 2008

Man Found Living Under Porch

PALATKA,FL — Palatka Police say they busted a crack house Monday morning, and what they found at the house surprised them.

Officers went to 1107 South 10th Street to serve an arrest warrant and arrested six people in the house.

Officers also found someone living underneath the front porch.

In a space that was only four-and-a-half feet tall, there was a television, bed, chair, micro-wave… even a toaster.

Assistant Chief James Griffith with the Palatka Police said, he’s never come across something like that before.

“As far as setting up a residence with electricity running off of extension cords underneath a house, no — I can’t recall any like that,” Griffith said.

Police say 23-year-old Thomas Tyrone Williams was living under the house. He was arrested for drug possession.

While investigators said they found one of the worst crack houses they’ve ever seen and an unusual dwelling underneath it, they also discovered seven children in the house.

All of the children are younger than six years old.

“Most disturbing was some of the crack cocaine was found in one of the backpacks that belonged to one of the children,” Griffith said.

30-year-old Christopher Crowley and 28-year-old Taronda Mack were arrested on drug charges and child abuse.

Griffith said the children are now with relatives and the Department of Children and Families has been notified about the case.

Source:  First Coast News

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Georgia Iron Worker and Wife Win $275 Million Jackpot

ATLANTA (AP) — An iron worker and his wife said their days of living paycheck-to-paycheck were behind them after presenting the winning ticket Monday for a $275 million Mega Millions jackpot.

Robert and Tonya Harris said they also plan to replace their trailer home with a new house, and buy a new four-wheel-drive truck first thing Tuesday morning.

“I was having to work overtime to make ends meet,” said Robert Harris, who quit his job as soon as he found out his lottery ticket was a winner. “Now we don’t have to do that.”

The jackpot is the largest won by a single player in the history of the 15-year-old Georgia Lottery and the third largest in Mega Millions history, lottery officials said.

“It’s awesome,” Robert Harris, 47, told a room full of reporters after receiving the ceremonial big check from lottery officials. “We have been very blessed.”

He said he picked the winning numbers from Friday’s multistate drawing — 7, 12, 13, 19 and 22, plus the Mega Ball number 10 — by using his grandchildren’s birthdays.

Now they plan to use the windfall to send their grandchildren to college, Tonya Harris said. They also want to share some money with other relatives, she said.

“We’re not gonna change,” she said, wearing warmup pants and flip-flops. “I’m too country.”

The couple spent Sunday night at the Ritz-Carlton in Atlanta before arriving at the lottery headquarters to claim their prize.

Lottery officials say the couple decided to take the lump sum: $167 million before taxes. They could have chosen an annuity of $10.5 million a year for 26 years.

They bought the winning ticket at Clyde’s Market in Portal, a town of about 600 about 70 miles northwest of Savannah. Robert Harris said they play the lottery “very seldom, but something just entered my mind” to play.

He had his wife buy two $1 tickets while she was grocery shopping.

Billy Hodges, general manager of Clyde’s Market, said the news of the jackpot on Saturday morning set the town abuzz.

“It happened to a nice lady; I think this lady really deserves it,” Hodges said.

A year ago, Ed Nabors from Rocky Face, Ga., won half of a $390 million Mega Millions jackpot — the richest lottery prize in U.S. history. The other half was claimed by Elaine and Harold Messner, a couple from Cape May County in New Jersey.

Mega Millions tickets are sold in California, Georgia, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Texas, Virginia and Washington state. The twice-weekly drawing is done in Atlanta.

Source: First Coast News

I’m glad it went to somebody that knows what it is like to stretch a paycheck until it snaps.

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Austrian Attorney Bitten By Shark on Dive Near Bahamas Dies

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. – An Austrian tourist died Monday after being bitten by a shark while diving near the Bahamas in waters that had been baited with bloody fish parts to attract the predators.

Markus Groh, 49, a Vienna lawyer and diving enthusiast, was on a commercial dive trip Sunday when he was bitten about 50 miles off the coast of Fort Lauderdale, said Karlick Arthur, Austrian counsel general in Miami. Groh was in the open water without a cage or similar protection.

The crew aboard the Shear Water, of Riviera Beach-based Scuba Adventures, immediately called the U.S. Coast Guard, which received a mayday from the vessel at about 10 a.m., said Petty Officer 3rd Class Nick Ameen.

The Coast Guard sent a helicopter to the scene, which hoisted Groh from the boat and flew him to Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami, where authorities said he died Monday.
Ameen said the man was bitten on the leg, but he could not be more specific about the extent of his injuries.

The Miami-Dade Medical Examiner’s Office declined to comment, citing an ongoing investigation by the Miami-Dade Police Department. A telephone message left for police was not immediately returned.

It was unclear what type of shark was involved in the attack.

A woman who answered the telephone at Scuba Adventures on Monday said the company had no comment.

The company’s Web site says it offers the opportunity to get “face to face” with sharks. The site explains that its hammerhead and tiger shark expeditions in the Bahamas are “unique shark trips … run exclusively for shark enthusiasts and photographers.”

To ensure “the best results we will be ‘chumming’ the water with fish and fish parts,” the Web site explains. “Consequently, there will be food in the water at the same time as the divers. Please be aware that these are not ‘cage’ dives, they are open water experiences.”

Bahamas Diving Association president Neal Watson said Shear Water is known to work with species of sharks considered dangerous: lemon sharks, tiger sharks, bull sharks, hammerheads.

His organization, which has done hundreds of thousands of dives, opposes interactive dives with these species without the protection of cages and says Groh’s death was preventable.

“I think that they just continue to push the envelope and trying to make it more and more and more exciting,” Watson said of Shear Water. “It reached the point where it wasn’t a matter of if but when an incident was going to occur.”


What. The. Hell. Was. Wrong. With. Those. People? Sharks are not cuddly, gentle creatures. Sharks are swimming eating machines.

Reading this story makes me hopeful that there may be additional nature safari markets as yet untapped, perhaps in Europe, in which tourists clamor to pay for an expedition where the guide throws bloody food to crocodiles while ensconced safely on a large boat, who will then allow/encourage tourists to pay an extra fee to swim among the crocs and observe/record for posterity their natural feeding behavior. This would be most attractive to those people that are bored with being alive, or perhaps just those people who have always wanted to experience a traumatic limb amputation.

For those who are worried about polar bears starving, perhaps there could be polar bear feeding expeditions in which people pay a polar bear guide to drop chopped-up seal pieces to hungry-looking polar bears from the safety of a bear-proof vehicle, and the ecotourist-cum-polar bear saviors get to stay with the chopped-up seals to observe authentic polar bear feeding behavior. Even better, find a sow with cubs. She would appreciate the food ever so much more. The cubs like to be cuddled while momma bear eats.

Apparently the attorney didn’t know that feeding frenzies are something that he really should not be involved in. Mother nature is an unforgiving bitch and doing stupid things sometimes carries a death penalty.

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44-Year-Old Woman is China’s Third Bird Flu Fatality in 2008

BEIJING (AFP) — A 44-year-old woman in southern China who tested positive for bird flu died on Monday, health officials said, in what is likely the country’s third reported death from the virus this year.

The migrant worker, surnamed Zhang, died after developing a fever and a cough following contact with dead poultry in Guangdong, the province’s health department said, although authorities in Beijing did not immediately comment.

In the financial hub of Hong Kong, which borders Guangdong, officials reacted by increasing tests of poultry coming over the border, although there was no ban on imports as occurred in similar cases previously.

The Guangdong health department said Zhang died in hospital after developing a fever, cough and inflammation of the lungs on February 16.

“We undertook tests on the patient and found that … a test for the bird flu virus (H5N1) was positive,” the department said in a statement.

“It was determined that before her illness she had had contact with dead poultry,” the statement added, without saying specifically that the suspect fowl had H5N1.

The department said that no-one else who had come into close contact with the victim had shown any symptoms of the virus.

The central health ministry did not confirm the case. “We have no information,” an official at the ministry’s media office in Beijing said when contacted by AFP. In China, the central government authorities carry out their own tests for bird flu cases.

The World Health Organisation’s China representative, Hans Troedsson, said the Chinese health ministry had informed his office of the potential bird flu case on Sunday.

If confirmed as a bird flu-related death, it would be the third in China since the start of 2008.

A 41-year-old man died of the virus in the southern Guangxi autonomous region on February 20, while a 22-year-old man in central Hunan province died on January 24.

Not including the death of Zhang in Guangdong, 19 people have been confirmed to have died of bird flu in China since 2003, while 10 others have recovered after catching the virus.

The latest deaths come despite China conducting a huge campaign last year to contain the disease, during which it attempted to vaccinate its entire tens of millions of poultry and stepping up public education efforts.

Hong Kong authorities appeared to be monitoring the Guangdong case very closely and gave more details than Chinese officials.

Zhang farmed poultry at her home and ate chicken after it had fallen ill and died, Thomas Tsang, the controller of the Centre for Health Protection of the Department of Health in Hong Kong, said.

The Hong Kong government has strengthened its border control, will continue to do temperature checks on those entering the territory and step-up inspections of imported poultry, Tsang told reporters.

Anyone who entered the city from the Guangdong province in the past six months and catches pneumonia must be tested for bird flu, he added, but there were as yet no plans to ban poultry imports from the province.

Bird flu has killed more than 200 people worldwide, according to the World Health Organisation.

Scientists fear the virus could eventually mutate into a form that is much more easily transmissible between humans, triggering a global pandemic.

Source:  AFP

More from the International Herald Tribune.

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