Odds and Ends

By The Associated Press

CLARKSBURG, W.Va. (AP) – Forget telemarketing. A police group is going to try to raise money for charity by opening a restaurant with slot machines.

If it works, the Fraternal Order of Police lodge anticipates earning at least $1,000 a month off the games.

“Video poker machines are perfectly legal,” President Carl Springer said. “We’ll run it strictly by the book.”

In the past, Mountaineer Lodge 78 has raised thousands of dollars for charities through monthly bingo games and telemarketing campaigns, Springer said, but “everybody’s been complaining about telemarketing. It’s an inconvenience and we don’t like calling people at home.”

So when it opens a new steakhouse in October, the group will take advantage of its status as a fraternal organization, which lets it operate up to 10 limited video lottery machines.

At least one law enforcement official – former Harrison County Sheriff Joe Trupo – says the plan represents a moral conflict of interest. He believes police should be police and not gambling enthusiasts.

Springer said he is not aware of any other FOPs across the county pursuing a similar idea and said his group considered the proposal carefully.

“I don’t think it’s a conflict,” Springer said. “If somebody gets out of hand, hopefully they will be arrested.”


LOS ANGELES (AP) – Sugar the mule was anything but sweet.

She bit her owner, kicked him and dragged him around his corral.

“At first I could do things with her, but she slowly turned on me,” said Sugar’s owner, Will Green.

So Green hauled the cranky creature to mule school at a suburban Los Angeles college, in hopes of teaching her some manners.

Within a few hours, mule charmer Steve Edwards had Sugar behaving like a lamb, obediently waltzing around a dusty corral on a length of rope.

“The biggest problem with mules is that most people aren’t smart enough to be around them,” said Edwards, 56. “People say they’re stubborn, but they’re just very smart. You have to be able to outthink them.”

Edwards is the point man for the mule training program that Pierce College in Woodland Hills, launched in 2002 to promote its sagging equestrian program.

The classes, which cover basic mule packing, mule riding and how to communicate, quickly became popular with baby boomers and active retirees enamored with the Old West and eager to explore rugged terrain. More than 100 people from around the country have taken the $42, weeklong classes at the school’s Equestrian Education Center.

Donkey stands in for tiger

SHANGHAI, China (AP) – Tiger, donkey. Whatever.

A restaurant in northeastern China that advertised illegal tiger meat dishes was found instead to be selling donkey flesh – marinated in tiger urine, a newspaper reported Thursday.

The Hufulou restaurant, located beside the Heidaohezi tiger reserve near the city of Hailin, had advertised stir-fried tiger meat with chilies for $98, as well as liquor flavored with tiger bone for $74 a bottle, the China Daily reported.

Raw meat was priced at $864 per kilogram.

The sale of tiger parts is illegal in China and officers shut down the restaurant, only to be told by owner, Ma Shikun, that the meat was actually that of donkeys flavored with tiger urine to give the dish a “special” tang, the paper said.

Authorities confiscated the restaurant’s profits and fined Ma $296.

Before changing his story, Ma claimed meat came from dead tigers sold to him by the management of the Heidaohezi reserve. Heidaohezi’s director denied that.

ELKHART, Ind. (AP) – A man whose prized University of Notre Dame season football tickets failed to arrive finally found out where they ended up.

At the delivery man’s house.

The Elkhart man called the delivery service Aug. 16 looking for his tickets – valued at $10,000 – and was told they had been dropped off at the wrong address.

This week, police learned the tickets were at the home of 38-year-old Ronnie J. Allard, the delivery man.

Allard asked his girlfriend to steal the tickets after he delivered them to the man’s front porch, according to Elkhart County Patrolman Jason Ray. Allard faces a felony charge of possession of stolen property.

The alleged theft came to light Sunday after Allard and his girlfriend had a fight. Ray said that when police came to the house, the woman told them about the stolen tickets.

AP-ES-09-08-05 0643EDT

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