News Around the World

Lights…Camera…Counterfeiting

It’s difficult to determine who was dumber: the dude who used the fake money, or the gas station attendant who accepted it.

Actually, scratch that — it was definitely the gas station attendant.

A tweet from the South Brunswick, New Jersey police department Monday reads, “SERIOUSLY….this is the fake $100 dollar bill a suspect passed at a local gas station.”

Below that is a photo of the front and back of a fairly convincing-looking, clearly well-used $100 bill.  Well, convincing at a glance — except for the words “FOR MOTION PICTURE USE ONLY” printed on the front of the bill.  And on the back. 

There are several other differences, too.  For example, where a real bill reads, “THIS NOTE IS LEGAL TENDER FOR ALL DEBTS, PUBLIC AND PRIVATE,” the fake bill reads, “THIS NOTE IS NOT LEGAL. IT IS TO BE USED FOR MOTION PICTURES.”

Not to mention the image of Benjamin Franklin has the founding father showing a smirk and giving some serious side-eye.

And yet, the unidentified gas station attendant accepted it, no questions asked.

“Detectives tracked down the 20 year old Montgomery man who admitted he was surprised the clerk took the money,” the South Brunswick PD tweet declares.

No word on what charges the fake-money-passer might face.

News Around the World

Hearse Stolen – With Dead Body Still Inside It

If you’re gonna steal a vehicle, you might wanna take just a few extra moments to check what’s inside before you boost the ride.

Case in point: As KABC TV in Los Angeles reports, police are still searching for a Lincoln Navigator SUV stolen Wednesday night from outside of St. Anthony’s Church in Pasadena, California.

What the thieves apparently didn’t know was this particular Lincoln was being used as a hearse. And the deceased was still inside of it.

As the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Office summed it up in a tweet: “To the suspect(s) driving around in a Black Lincoln Navigator stolen from the 700 blk of Rosemead Bl just after 8PM today in [Pasadena]: Out of all the bad decisions you have made, at least make one good one & bring back the deceased person & casket inside the Navigator.”

In other words: Keep the SUV — we just want the dead body inside of it.

No word yet if the body has been recovered.

 

News Around the World

Some People Never Learn

It’s not specified when U.S. Marshals apprehended 40-year-old Kaleb Wiewandt. What we do know is that he was arrested for bank fraud, and also for — and put a pin in this one — identity theft.

According to KSTU TV in Salt Lake City, Wiewandt was being held in the Weber County Jail in Ogden, Utah. That is, until Tuesday, when Weiwandt escaped by — wait for it — assuming another inmate’s identity.

After learning that fellow inmate Matthew Belnap was scheduled to be released Tuesday, Wiewandt shaved his head to look more like Belnap, to whom he otherwise bears no resemblance whatsoever.

Even so, that was enough, along with some personal information he’d learned from befriending the other inmate, for Wiewandt to convince jail officials that he was Belnap. And so, they let him go.

What’s more, jail staff didn’t learn of their mistake until Belnap, hours later, informed them that he was still in jail, waiting to be released.

“This is a very rare occurrence. This is not something we see every day. It was well planned out as far as we can see,” said a sheriff’s department spokesperson.

At last word, Wiewandt was still on the loose. In the meantime, jail officials are apparently venting their frustrations on Belnap, who’s been charged with hindering an investigation and aiding an escape.

 

Lakeshore News, News Around the World

AAA Tips to Help Travelers Avoid Illness; Other Health Hazards

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention flu activity peaks between December and February, but it can last as late as May.  AAA is urging travelers to take precautionary measures to protect themselves from getting sick.

Although the coronavirus (COVID-19) continues to make headlines, travelers should not overlook the flu. So far this season, the CDC estimates that there have been at least 26 million flu illnesses, 250,000 hospitalizations and 14,000 deaths from the flu.

“The risk of contracting the flu is high right now whether you are in public spaces near home or traveling,” said Nick Jarmusz, Director of Public Affairs for AAA – The Auto Club Group. “Preparation is the most important thing for travelers to ensure an unexpected illness doesn’t ruin their trip.”

AAA and CDC Tips for Travelers

Before you go

  • Get vaccinated. Everyone 6 months and older should get a flu vaccine yearly, preferably in the fall.
  • People should get vaccinated at least two weeks before travel, because it takes two weeks for vaccine immunity to develop.
  • Monitor activity and get the shots you need for the countries you’re visiting.
  • Do not travel if you are sick with flu-like symptoms. These symptoms include fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, muscle or body aches, headache, and fatigue. Stay home until at least 24 hours after you no longer have fever symptoms.
  • Stay aware of travel advisories and alerts. Enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) at step.state.gov.
  • Read more tips for travelers from the CDC.

While you Travel

  • Get plenty of rest before your trip.
  • Stay hydrated to keep your nasal passages moist, which helps protect you from viruses and bacteria.
  • Wash your hands or use hand sanitizer after touching surfaces that are likely to have germs.
  • Avoid touching your face. Germs need a point of entry like eyes, nose or mouth.
  • Avoid close contact with sick people.

After Your Trip

  • Closely monitor your health for 7 days. If you become ill with flu symptoms, seek medical attention if they are severe.

Other Health Hazards When Traveling

Although illnesses like the flu are top of mind this time of year, AAA is also warning travelers about a potentially deadly condition that can strike year-round; particularly to travelers on long flights or road trips.

People who are immobile for four hours or more may be susceptible to Venous Thromboembolism (VTE). This is a condition where a blood clot forms in a deep vein (usually the leg) and travels to the lungs and blocks blood supply.

Symptoms of VTE

Pain or tenderness (usually in the legs), swelling and unusual warmth in that area, and potentially even some redness or discoloration of the skin where the blood clot is located. Symptoms for a pulmonary embolism include difficulty breathing, fast or irregular heartbeat, chest pain, coughing up blood and lightheadedness.

If you experience any symptoms while on an airplane, let a flight attendant know immediately. You likely will need a medical evaluation on the plane.

Prevention

Leg exercises, walking around every two to three hours, wearing compression stockings and, for high-risk travelers, taking medication to prevent blood clots.

For more information on staying healthy while overseas, visit AAA.com/AAALiving. 

Lakeshore News, News Around the World

AAA WEEKLY FUEL GAUGE

More than half of all state gas price averages increased as much as three cents in the last week. The jumps, which caused the national gas price average to increase by a penny to $2.47, was caused by a decrease in U.S. gasoline stocks and increases in demand. The Energy Information Administration’s (EIA) latest data show total domestic gasoline stocks decreased by 2 million bbl to 259.1 million bbl, while demand increased from 8.72 million b/d to 8.92 million b/d. Some of the decrease in stocks can be attributed to refinery maintenance.

Gasoline prices are likely to fluctuate in the coming weeks, but not drastically, as the winter driving season nears its end and refineries undergo maintenance. This is the typical trend this time of yea

Today’s national average is six cents cheaper than last month and eight cents more expensive than last year.

In the Great Lakes and Central States it’s surprising that regional gas prices jumped in the last seven days given that stocks increased by 421,000 bbl to 59.1 million – the highest stock level in a year – and refinery utilization held steady at 91%. However, volatility is typical for the region and most states only saw jumps of just a few pennies in the last week.

  Monday Sunday Week Ago Month Ago One Year Ago
National $2.474 $2.474 $2.439 $2.534 $2.394
Wisconsin $2.364 $2.366 $2.317 $2.394 $2.349
Appleton $2.319 $2.326 $2.271 $2.335 $2.268
Eau Claire $2.472 $2.472 $2.433 $2.461 $2.435
Green Bay $2.348 $2.350 $2.295 $2.368 $2.303
Janesville-Beloit $2.322 $2.325 $2.280 $2.316 $2.328
La Crosse $2.451 $2.451 $2.390 $2.447 $2.343
Madison $2.303 $2.300 $2.261 $2.351 $2.305
Milwaukee $2.326 $2.328 $2.263 $2.345 $2.341
Wausau $2.414 $2.418 $2.325 $2.420 $2.374

Click here to view current gasoline price averages

Lakeshore News, News Around the World

It’s a Rotary Cellphone!

Ever wonder what it would be like to combine the nostalgia of a rotary phone with the compact size of the smartphone? Well, wonder no more.

A scientist named Justine Haupt has built a rotary cellphone. According to Colossal, she spent three years constructing the “anti-smartphone,” calling it The Portable Wireless Electronic Digital Rotary Telephone.

It has a rotary dial, fits in your pocket and can make phone calls. That’s about it.

“This is a statement against a world of touchscreens, hyperconnectivity, and complacency with big brother watchdogs,” Haupt writes on her website.

She adds, “So it’s not just a show-and-tell piece… My intent is to use it as my primary phone. It fits in a pocket; It’s reasonably compact; calling the people I most often call is faster than with my old phone, and the battery lasts almost 24 hours.”

Haupt has open sourced her technical design files – so while her rotary cell phone isn’t for sale, you could conceivably build your own.

Lakeshore News, News Around the World

Know What ELSE Exercise Is Good For?

“Money can’t buy happiness,” the saying goes…but a new study says exercise can.

A large survey of 1.2 million Americans conducted by researchers from Yale and Oxford universities noted that a higher income doesn’t impact happiness as much as you may think…but getting off your couch does.

The researchers say people who described themselves as active have 35 days of “poor mental health” per year, which is 18 fewer days than those who were sedentary.

What’s more, the study found that a sedentary person needed as much as $25 grand more to match the levels of happiness of an active, but less financially stable, person.

Here’s the rub, however: According to the study, which was published in the medical journal Lancet Psychiatry, doing more and more exercise won’t make you happier and happier. You’ll get the most bang for your buck being active 30-60 minutes three times a week, scientists say.

Lakeshore News, News Around the World

New Barbies Being Created Before 2020 Olympics

Tokyo 2020 is around the corner and Mattel has added an array of sporty new toys including five new Barbie dolls to its starting lineup ahead of the Olympic Games.

In partnership with the International Olympic Committee, the toy brand collaborated to create licensed toy products highlighting the five new sports that will be added to the summer sports program, according to a press release.

The Barbie Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 international line will roll out this spring and include baseball/softball, sport climbing, karate, skateboarding and surfing.

“In line with our Global Licensing Strategy, this new international licensing collaboration with Mattel is a great way to engage with an important audience, our younger fans and their families, and through these high-quality products to connect them with the Olympic brand and values,” Timo Lumme, managing director of IOC television and marketing services said in a statement.

“Tokyo 2020 is a monumental event that brings the world together through sport and inspires fans of all ages,” Janet Hsu, Mattel’s Chief Franchise Officer added. “The Mattel Tokyo 2020 Collection honors these sports and inspires a new generation through the Olympic spirit and outstanding athletic tradition.”

Mattel’s Tokyo 2020 products will also include a new Hot Wheels collection to represent iconic sports from the first Games in Athens to sports making their debut in Tokyo and a limited-edition UNO deck that features the mascot, Miratowa.

News Around the World

Bear Spray, 1; Marijuana Store Robbers, 0

Bear spray not only repels bears, it does a pretty good job on would-be thieves, too.

As reported by KCPQ TV in Seattle, Washington, Chris Vincent was closing up his marijuana shop, Marijuana Club 99, in Everett, Washington Saturday night when three masked men burst into the store, at least one of whom was brandishing a semi-automatic handgun.

As shown on the in-store security video of the incident, one of the men ordered Vincent to open the register while the other two began stuffing their bags with merchandise.

But Vincent kept his cool. “I noticed the guy was a little bit away from me,” he said, “so I grabbed the bear spray.”

Mind you, bear spray isn’t your everyday, pocket-sized can of mace. It’s pepper spray on steroids that usually comes in a hairspray-sized can and shoots a stream of nasty as far as 30 feet or more.

Which is no doubt why Vincent keeps some on a shelf under the register. All it took was a face full of the stuff to send the robbers stumbling and running out of the store.

“They were so confused they couldn’t even get the doors open,” said Vincent.

It’s pretty funny to watch, but no laughing matter. Just eight days earlier, armed robbers stole thousands of dollars of merchandise from Vincent’s store, holding his employees at gunpoint.

Local police are asking for the public’s help in identifying and apprehending the culprits.

News Around the World

Arrested…Again

You would think by now, Donald Murray would have taken the time to reconsider his chosen profession.  And maybe that tattoo, as well.

As reported by MyWabashValley.com, Murray was arrested Monday morning and charged with various crimes, including auto theft, reckless driving, meth possession and resisting arrest.

It’s not difficult to recognize Murray.  He’s the guy with the words CRIME PAYS tattooed in one-inch-tall capital letters, right smack-dab in the middle of his forehead.

This is Murray’s second arrest in just over two months.  He was also busted December 4 after a police chase, and was charged with felony criminal recklessness and resisting arrest.  He was released on his own recognizance January 14 on those charges.