Woman's obituary: In lieu of flowers 'do not vote for Trump'

https://www.sfgate.com/news/article/Woman-s-obituary-In-lieu-of-flowers-do-not-vote-15665037.php

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — An obituary for a Minneapolis-area woman who died at age 93 included one specific request for her mourners: Do not vote for Donald Trump.

Georgia May Adkins, of Inver Grove Heights, died of a stroke on Sept. 28 at United Hospital in St. Paul.

A pair of obituaries published in the St. Paul Pioneer Press included details of how she wanted to be cremated and then honored with an Oct. 16 church service under COVID-19 protocols. And she preferred that her friends and family not patronize a florist.

“In lieu of flowers, Georgia preferred that you do not vote for Trump," her Oct. 11 obituary read.

The request made the rounds on social media, attracting admiration from some and condemnation from others, the Pioneer Press reported. On Facebook, a grandchild, Amber Westman, joined in on one of the conversations and said her grandmother was “fierce everyday and remains so through her legacy!”

Adkins was preceded in death by her husband, Eldon Thomas Adkins, and her first husband, Edward Donald Wille, as well as a sister, son, daughter and stepdaughter. She is survived by three daughters, a son, two stepdaughters, 17 grandchildren, 24 great-grandchildren and one great-great-grandchild.

Where's my truck? Sheriff loses vehicle during radio visit

https://www.sfgate.com/news/article/Where-s-my-truck-Sheriff-loses-vehicle-during-15664291.php

MARQUETTE, Mich. (AP) — A sheriff in Michigan's Upper Peninsula couldn't find his marked pickup truck and figured his deputies were playing a joke.

It was no joke: The Chevy Silverado was really missing Wednesday.

Minutes later, a Marquette County dispatcher reported that the vehicle was in a ditch. A police dog tracked the suspect to a restroom at a nearby boat launch, WLUC-TV reported.

Sheriff Greg Zyburt believed he had locked the truck and had the keys in his possession while appearing on a morning radio show. Zyburt said he didn't know there an extra set in the vehicle.

The sheriff's office told the story on its Facebook page, even including a photo of the truck in the ditch.

“Lesson of the day: If it can happen to the sheriff, it can happen to you. Lock your vehicles,” the sheriff's office said.

Can't crush this: Beetle armor gives clues to tougher planes

https://www.sfgate.com/news/article/Can-t-crush-this-Beetle-armor-gives-clues-to-15664134.php

NEW YORK (AP) — It's a beetle that can withstand bird pecks, animal stomps and even being rolled over by a Toyota Camry. Now scientists are studying what the bug’s crush-resistant shell could teach them about designing stronger planes and buildings.

“This beetle is super tough," said Purdue University civil engineer Pablo Zavattieri, who was among a group of researchers that ran over the insect with a car as part of a new study.

So, how does the seemingly indestructible insect do it? The species — aptly named diabolical ironclad beetle — owes its might to an unusual armor that is layered and pieced together like a jigsaw, according to the study by Zavattieri and his colleagues published in Nature on Wednesday. And its design, they say, could help inspire more durable structures and vehicles.

To understand what gives the inch-long beetle its strength, researchers first tested how much squishing it could take. The species, which can be found in Southern California’s woodlands, withstood compression of about 39,000 times its own weight.

For a 200-pound man, that would be like surviving a 7.8-million-pound crush.

Other local beetle species shattered under one-third as much pressure.

Researchers then used electron microscopes and CT scans to examine the beetle's exoskeleton and figure out what made it so strong.

As is often the case for flightless beetles, the species' elytra — a protective case that normally sheaths wings — had strengthened and toughened over time. Up close , scientists realized this cover also benefited from special, jigsaw-like bindings and a layered architecture.

When compressed, they found the structure fractured slowly instead of snapping all at once.

“When you pull them apart," Zavattieri said, “it doesn’t break...

Rare white sea turtle found on South Carolina beach

https://www.sfgate.com/news/article/Rare-white-sea-turtle-found-on-South-Carolina-15658308.php

KIAWAH ISLAND, S.C. (AP) — Volunteers checking sea turtle nests on a South Carolina beach came upon a rare sight: a white sea turtle hatchling crawling across the sand.

The town of Kiawah Island posted on its Facebook page that the Kiawah Island Turtle Patrol found a lone white baby sea turtle on Sunday. Photos show a tiny turtle that’s a creamy white color rather than the more typical gray or green of a sea turtle.

The town says the hatchling is believed to have a genetic condition called leucism, which causes animals to have reduced pigmentation. The condition is described as extremely rare, but it's unclear exactly how often such turtles are found in the wild.

The Olive Ridley Project, a sea turtle conservation group, says sea turtles with leucism typically have a hard time surviving because of a lack of camouflage.

Border closure can't keep grandparents from Canadian wedding

https://www.sfgate.com/living/article/Border-closure-can-t-keep-grandparents-from-15659147.php

ST. STEPHEN, New Brunswick (AP) — With the border closed, a Canadian couple still found a way for their grandparents from Maine to see their waterfront wedding.

It involved a boat used for hauling lobster traps, naturally.

Alex Leckie and Lindsay Clowes were married on a wharf in St. Stephen, New Brunswick, while the bride's grandparents and a few other relatives from Calais, Maine, watched from a boat in the St. Croix river that divides the countries. Other families and friends watched from Maine.

“It was happy and emotional and overwhelming,” Clowes said of seeing family and friends on both sides of the border.

The idea for the wedding was hatched after the couple had to cancel a summer wedding in Nova Scotia because of the closed border and travel restrictions. The St. Stephen wedding allowed families on both sides of the border to participate. Clowes grew up in Calais, Maine, and attended school in St. Stephen, New Brunswick.

“To sum it up, my wife came up with the hashtag, #loveisnotcancelled,” said Chris Bernardini, whose wife, Leslie, is mother of the bride.

Bernardini and his wife, from Calais, were able to cross the border and quarantine in Canada before the wedding because both hold dual citizenships.

But it took some Maine ingenuity for other family members to be able to see the wedding. That involved using the 19-foot skiff used for hauling lobster traps that belonged to Bernardini’s father.

The bride's grandparents, a great-aunt, and an aunt and uncle were in the boat, while other Mainers watched from shore.

For a honeymoon, the couple has purchased a camper that they've using for day trips in the Canadian Maritimes.

John Oliver now has a sewage plant named after him

https://www.sfgate.com/news/article/John-Oliver-now-has-a-sewage-plant-named-after-him-15658196.php

DANBURY, Conn. (AP) — Comedian John Oliver made a secret trip to Connecticut last week to help cut the ribbon on a sign naming a sewage treatment plant in his honor.

Danbury's City Council voted earlier this month to rename the sewage plant “The John Oliver Memorial Sewer Plant,” following a tongue-in-cheek battle that began with an expletive-filled rant against the city on HBO’s “Last Week Tonight with John Oliver” in August.

Mayor Mark Boughton responded to the attack by posting a video of himself at the sewage plant saying the city was going to name it after Oliver "because it’s full of crap just like you, John.”

Oliver offered to donate $55,000 to local charities if Danbury actually followed through with the idea.

Oliver shared a video of the ribbon-cutting on his show Sunday. During the ceremony, he wore a homemade protective suit, which appeared to be made from a white plastic trash bag, with rubber gloves and and a see-through plastic helmet.

“This place takes the worst that humanity can produce, and transforms it into something that we can live with,” Oliver said. “And now more than ever, there’s something inspirational in that, because at the end of this awful, awful year, what could be more important than evidence that, if we want to, we can come together, overcome our differences and sort our s—- out.”

Boughton said Oliver’s promised donations have helped spur local fundraising efforts for area food banks that could end up collecting hundreds of thousands of dollars to feed needy families.

He said the ceremony was kept private as a public health precaution.

'Big pile' of eels dumped in NYC park; impact not yet known

https://www.sfgate.com/news/article/Big-pile-of-eels-dumped-in-NYC-park-impact-not-15655175.php

NEW YORK (AP) — Andrew Orkin was taking a break from his evening jog to sit by Prospect Park Lake when he turned around and was startled to see a tangle of wriggling snakes.

“And quite a big pile — fully alive,” said Orkin, a music composer who lives near the Brooklyn park.

They turned out to be eels that had escaped from one of two large plastic bags that split open as a man dragged them to the shoreline. After dumping the eels in the lake, the man walked away, explaining to bystanders that “I just want to save lives.”

The illegal release late last month became a curiosity on social media, but the dumping of exotic animals in urban parks isn’t new. In cities across the country, nonnative birds, turtles, fish and lizards have settled into, and often disturbed, local ecosystems.

New Yorkers free thousands of non-native animals every year, many of them abandoned pets that quickly die. But others can survive, reproduce and end up causing lasting harm.

“People like animals and they sometimes think they’re doing a good thing by letting them go,” said Jason Munshi-South, urban ecologist at Fordham University. “Most will die. Some will become a problem, and then there’s no going back.”

New York state and city officials say it’s too soon to know how the eels in Prospect Park might affect local species. But based on photos taken by bystanders, officials identified them as swamp eels native to Southeast Asia like those that have been found in at least eight states.

Once introduced — often after being purchased at local live fish markets, officials say — the eels eat almost anything including plants, insects, crustaceans, frogs, turtles and other fish. And they could prey upon or compete with the park’s native species for however long they...

Brazil leader's ally suspended after underwear cash jackpot

https://www.sfgate.com/news/article/Brazil-leader-s-ally-quits-amid-underwear-cash-15650687.php

SAO PAULO (AP) — A Brazilian lawmaker stepped down from his position representing President Jair Bolsonaro’s government and was suspended from the senate, after police searched his house and found cash inside the underwear he was wearing.

Federal police targeted Roraima state’s Sen. Chico Rodrigues as part of a probe into the alleged misappropriation of COVID-19 funds, according to the 90-day suspension issued by Luís Roberto Barroso, a justice on Brazil's Supreme Court.

Police initially found 10,000 reais ($1,780) and $6,000 inside a safe in Rodrigues’ house Wednesday, at which point the lawmaker asked if he could go to the bathroom, according to the police report, part of which is included in Barroso’s ruling. As Rodrigues walked away, a police officer noticed a large, rectangular bulge under the senator's shorts.

“Found inside his underwear, near his buttocks, were stacks of money that totaled 15,000 reais ($2,675),” the report says. The ruling was reviewed by The Associated Press.

Asked three times whether he had any additional cash stowed, the senator angrily shoved his hand into his underwear to retrieve more stacks of bills, which totaled 17,900 reais ($3,200), according to the report.

A subsequent police search turned up another 250 reais ($45) from inside his underwear. There is video of that search, which Barroso wrote in his ruling he was declining to provide to the senate as it was "well within his (Rodrigues') intimate clothing″ and could cause ″greater discomfort.″

Barroso wrote that Rodrigues’ decision to hide the money indicated impropriety and had raised the possibility of decreeing preventative imprisonment. The senate can vote to reverse the suspension.

“My home was invaded for having done my job as a lawmaker, getting resources for the state to combat COVID-19,”...

'There's a lemur!' 5-year-old helps crack SF Zoo theft case

https://www.sfgate.com/news/article/SF-Zoo-cites-child-for-finding-lemur-police-15654514.php

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Police said Friday they arrested a man suspected of stealing a ring-tailed lemur from the San Francisco Zoo, where officials rewarded a 5-year-old boy who helped recapture the endangered primate with a lifetime membership.

The theft of Maki, an arthritic 21-year-old lemur, made the news Wednesday in San Francisco and beyond when zoo officials reported the animal missing and found evidence of forced entry at his enclosure.

Five-year-old James Trinh was unaware of the headlines when leaving his preschool Thursday in Daly City, about 5 miles from the zoo, and exclaimed, “There’s a lemur! There’s a lemur!” Cynthia Huang, director of the Hope Lutheran Day School, told the San Francisco Chronicle Friday.

Huang was skeptical at first. “I thought, Are you sure it’s not a raccoon?” she said.

Maki scurried from the parking lot into the school’s playground and took refuge in a miniature play house, as the school called police who quickly alerted animal control and zoo officials. The children, parents and teachers watched as caretakers arrived and coaxed the lemur into a transport cage, Huang said.

Also Thursday, police took 30-year-old Cory McGilloway into custody, San Francisco police Lt. Scott Ryan told reporters Friday.

McGilloway, whom investigators had identified as a suspect in the lemur’s abduction, was arrested Thursday evening by San Rafael police on unrelated charges. He was expected to be transferred to San Francisco County Jail to be booked on charges of burglary, grand theft of an animal, looting and vandalism all related to the lemur theft, Ryan said.

Police did not provide other details, saying the investigation was still underway but credited a multi-agency effort and tips on a public tip line that led to the suspect's...

Rudolph and his nose-so-bright into auction will take flight

https://www.sfgate.com/news/article/Rudolph-and-his-nose-so-bright-into-auction-will-15649245.php

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Rudolph and his still-shiny nose are getting a new home, and it's bound to be a lot nicer than the Island of Misfit Toys.

The soaring reindeer and Santa Claus figures who starred in in the perennially beloved stop-motion animation Christmas special “Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer” are going up for auction.

Auction house Profiles in History announced Thursday that a 6-inch-tall Rudolph and 11-inch-tall Santa used to animate the 1964 TV special are being sold together in the auction that starts Nov. 13 and are expected to fetch between $150,000 and $250,000.

Collector Peter Lutrario of Staten Island, New York, thought they might be the only items he would never sell, but when he recently turned 65 he thought about having something to leave for his children and grandchildren.

“I always said I would die with the dolls,” he told The Associated Press. “I’m just putting the family first.”

The figures were made by Japanese puppet maker Ichiro Komuro and used for the filming of the show at Tadaito Mochinaga’s MOM Productions in Tokyo.

They're made of wood, wire, cloth and leather. Rudolph's nose, after some minimal maintenance through the years, still lights up. The realistic bristles of Santa's beard are made from yak hair.

Lutrario, who bought them about 15 years ago after seeing them appraised on “Antiques Roadshow” on PBS, says that even after well over five decades you can manipulate them as the original animators did.

“They’re still malleable,” he said, "and it’s very detailed. Not only can you move the arms, the legs, the head, you can move the fingers, the thumbs.

The show, produced by the company that would become Rankin/Bass Animated Entertainment, first aired Dec. 6, 1964 on NBC in the United States. It's been a TV...