2008 deserves one more look at the headliners


Here are some more of my favorite news stories clipped from the newspapers in 2008:

SOUTH KITSAP — On Jan. 9, Justin Alstatt and a 17-year-old went to a register at the Rite Aid on Bethel Road and held up a note that read, “put the money in the bag.” The cashier didn’t think he was serious until he pulled out a pocket knife. Instead of handing over the money, the cashier picked up the intercom and announced to the store that there was a man with a knife. The suspects fled. The pair tried again on Jan. 14 at Wendy’s restaurant where one of them walked up to a cashier and told her to “put the money in the bag.” He shoved a paper bag at her. Neither the cashier nor the manager could understand what the pair wanted, so the pair left empty-handed. About an hour later, they tried the Rite Aid store again, asking for change for a dollar. When the clerk reached into the register, one of them attacked him, but the clerk put the suspect in a headlock and the two ran away with no cash. A police dog tracked them down on Vallair Court.

TRENTON, N.J. — Neighbors called police in Trenton after hearing persistent cries of “Help me! Help me!” coming from a house. Officers arrived and when no one answered the door, they kicked it in. Instead of a damsel in distress, they found a caged cockatoo that sounded like a woman. It wasn’t the first time the 10-year-old bird, Luna, said something that brought authorities to the home of owner Evelyn DeLeon. About seven years ago, the bird cried like a baby for hours, leading to a visit by child welfare workers.

ATLANTA — Last July, a county police officer on leave and an ex-corrections officer announced over YouTube and a Web site that they had found Bigfoot. The alleged carcass encased in a block of ice was turned over to two researchers on a quest to prove the existence of Bigfoot for an undisclosed amount of money. “Everyone who has talked down to us is going to eat their words,” said the police officer. But as the block of ice slowly thawed out, the supposed carcass was discovered to be a rubber gorilla outfit. The local sheriff said he was processing paperwork to fire the officer.

GROSSE POINTE FARMS, MICH. — The family of Peter Neesley had one wish to fulfill after the Army sergeant died in Baghdad on Christmas Day. He had taken in two stray dogs and had told the family he wanted to bring them home with him. It took four weeks for the family to accomplish his last wish. While Neesley’s fellow soldiers cared for Mama, a black Labrador mix, and Boris, her white and brown spotted puppy, a veterinarian with the Iraqi Society for Animals vaccinated the dogs and arranged for health certificates allowing them to travel to the U.S. Gryphon Holdings. A U.S.-owned airline agreed to fly the dogs from Baghdad to Kuwait City and a manager from the Utah-based Best Friends Animal Society accompanied them home where the Neesley family greeted them with banners and balloons.

GEORGIA — A Georgia Girl Scout who was robbed while selling cookies led police straight to a 12-year-old suspect, who wrote her name and address on a cookie order form before the theft. The Girl Scout, Nicole Grant, 10, told police she was selling cookies with a friend when the girl ordered cookies and then snatched Nicole’s plastic bag, containing $28 in cookie money, and fled on a bicycle. The suspect was arrested and faces a juvenile charge of robbery.

RENTON — When the State Patrol pulled over a Puyallup man for a suspected HOV lane violation, they found his required passenger was made of Styrofoam. The trooper became suspicious because the dummy was slumped over in the back seat. The driver said he’d belt him in the front seat next time.

Adele Ferguson can be reached at P.O. Box 69, Hansville, WA 98340.

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