Odds and Ends – Friday December 15 – December 21, 2017

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Hand grenade found in donation
to California Goodwill store

Placentia, Calif. (AP) – Authorities say someone left a hand grenade inside a box of donations that was dropped off by a woman at a Goodwill store in Southern California. The Los Angeles Times reports an unidentified woman dropped off the box Wednesday at the store in the city of Placentia near Los Angeles. The Placentia Police Department says store workers discovered the grenade as they sifted through donations. Officers evacuated neighboring businesses and a bomb squad was sent to safely retrieve the grenade. The nonprofit Goodwill Industries International Inc. has more than 3,200 retail thrift stores.

Firefighters work for hours
to free man stuck in trash truck

Philadelphia (AP) – Officials say it took firefighters more than two hours to free a man who wound up stuck in a trash truck’s compactor section. Police say it appears the man had been sleeping in a trash bin when he was tossed into the truck. He was buried under bagged and loose trash when firefighters tried to reach him Monday morning. The ordeal happened outside The Kintock Group home, which serves as an interim stop before state and federal prisoners are released. Authorities initially said the man escaped from the home, but a prisons department spokeswoman says no one was missing from a roll call. The man was taken to a hospital with leg, hip and abdominal injuries. Fire officials say residents who heard the man screaming called 911.

Hot deck: German cops nab
card cheat with radioactive cards

Berlin (AP) – A German restaurant owner is in hot water for allegedly marking playing cards with radioactivity to rig games. Berlin police said Tuesday the 41-year-old woman daubed Iodine-125 on specific cards, which allowed them to be identified by a gambler with a concealed detector. Police got on her trail after radioactive card fragments were found during a routine inspection of a garbage truck at a waste treatment plant a year ago. Investigators then followed the vehicle’s route to determine the origin. They raided the woman’s restaurant and other premises earlier this month and found 13 radioactive card pieces. Police said Tuesday that Iodine-125 is commonly used for medical purposes and only poses a health risk through direct contact with no protective clothing. How much the scheme netted is still under investigation.

Builders race to save football’s
Eagles from Billy Penn jinx

Philadelphia (AP) – Superstitious construction workers have placed a small statue of Philadelphia’s founder atop the city’s newest skyscraper in an effort to save the NFL-leading Philadelphia Eagles from a fabled jinx. Philly.com reports the William Penn figurine was affixed to the Comcast tower’s highest beam Monday after builders decided waiting for a topping-off ceremony was too risky. Believers in the Curse of Billy Penn say it doomed the city’s sports teams for decades after the city’s first skyscraper broke tradition and rose higher than the William Penn statue topping City Hall. In 2007, the situation was rectified with a statuette placed atop a taller skyscraper. The next year, the Phillies won the World Series. When construction of the new 1,121-foot-tall tower broke the height record, workers were eager to restore Penn to his rightful perch.

Sphinx from 90-year-old movie
set unearthed in California

(Guadalupe-Nipomo Dunes Center via AP)
(Guadalupe-Nipomo Dunes Center via AP)

Guadalupe, Calif. (AP) – Archaeologists working in sand dunes on the central California coast have dug up an intact plaster sphinx that was part of an Egyptian movie set built more than 90 years ago for Cecil B. DeMille’s epic “The Ten Commandments.” The 300-pound sphinx is the second recovered from the Guadalupe-Nipomo Dunes. Dunes Center Executive Director Doug Jenzen tells Santa Barbara news station KEYT-TV that it’s unlike other items found on previous digs because most of it is preserved with the original paint intact. The set of the 1923 movie included more than 20 sphinxes. After filming, DeMille ordered everything buried in the dunes 175 miles northwest of Los Angeles. They lay undisturbed for decades before recovery efforts began. The newly recovered sphinx is expected to go on display at the dunes museum next summer.