Odds and Ends – Friday December 14, 2018 – December 20, 2018

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(Brad Tonner via AP)
(Brad Tonner via AP)

Beloved gift shop turtle celebrates 50th birthday party

Bristol, N.H. (AP) – A turtle given to a bedridden little boy in New Hampshire back in 1968 celebrated her 50th birthday with party hats, a sheet cake with the right number of candles and many well-wishers. Diane the Turtle was given to Jim Tonner when he was 12 and being treated for hip arthritis at his home in Braintree, Massachusetts. Years later, Jim, and his twin brother, Brad Tonner, opened a gift shop in Bristol, New Hampshire, which became Diane’s home. Her tank is surrounded by photos of store visitors. On Saturday, the store was crowded with visitors singing “Happy Birthday” to Diane, who wore a tiny party hat. “Another animal might put their head back in their shell,” Jim Tonner said Monday. “Her head went straight out. It’s one of the funniest things you’ve ever seen.” The brothers have written and illustrated books about Diane and set up a turtle webcam in their shop. Tonner said when he was a child, turtles like Diane were popular pets, but many didn’t live that long. That’s why she’s so unusual, he said. Today, the 4-pound turtle is thriving. Her favorite foods are strawberries and romaine lettuce. But don’t worry about the ban on that salad green; Tonner grows his own romaine. “That’s why she’s 50 years old,” Tonner said with a laugh.

Jury rules napkin promise must be honored in news site case

Anchorage, Alaska (AP) – An Alaska jury has ordered the buyer of a news website to make good on a payment promise she had scrawled on a cocktail napkin. The Anchorage Daily News reports that jurors ordered Alice Rogoff to pay more than $850,000 to Tony Hopfinger. Rogoff purchased a majority stake in the Alaska Dispatch website from Hopfinger in 2009. Her company bought the Anchorage Daily News in 2014 and merged the businesses. Hopfinger sued Rogoff, claiming she failed to pay him $100,000 annually for 10 years as promised in a note on the cocktail napkin. Rogoff’s attorney argued that terms were stated to commit Hopfinger to work for a decade and that he deserved nothing when he left.

Royal Mail delivers: Postman,
can you take this to heaven?

London (AP) – A 7-year-old Scottish boy who sent a birthday card to his father in heaven has received a heart-warming reply. A Royal Mail official responded to Jase Hyndman after seeing the card addressed: “Mr. Postman, Can you take this to heaven for my dad’s birthday.” The Royal Mail’s Sean Milligan wrote back, saying, “This was a difficult challenge avoiding stars and other galactic objects on route to heaven. However, please be assured that this particular important item of mail has been delivered.” Jase’s mother, Teri Copland, posted images of the letters on Facebook, which have been shared more than 260,000 times. Copland says, “I actually cannot state how emotional he is knowing his dad got the card. … You’ve just restored my faith in humanity.”

Saving Clark’s neck? Panic
at ‘Lampoon’s Christmas’ display

Austin, Texas (AP) – A holiday display meant to re-create a scene from “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation” looked a little too real and caused a veteran to spring into action. The Heerlein family placed a dummy representing Clark Griswold dangling from the gutter of their Austin, Texas, home, with a ladder tipping beneath him. A veteran passing by thought it was the real thing and wrestled the ladder up while shouting, “Can you reach it?” KVUE-TV reports the man called police, who arrived and advised the family they were getting calls about the display. They have since put up a sign that says “Clark G is part of our Christmas display please do not call 911.”