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Best weird AP news: Rocco the dog gets stuck in a tree; Wrong number text leads to free Stanley Cup tickets; Painting break results in town greeting visitors with ‘sex’

June 3, 2017 GMT
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FILE - In this April 11, 2005, file photo, New York Mets mascot Mr. Met reacts with the crowd during the Mets home opener against the Houston Astros at Shea Stadium in New York. Even Mr. Met is frustrated with the team's start. New York's beloved mascot flashed an upraised middle finger at a fan during Wednesday night's, May 31, 2017, 7-1 loss to the Milwaukee Brewers, and the employee will not work for the Mets again. A Mets official told The Associated Press more than one person wears the Mr. Met costume during each season, and the person who donned it Wednesday night will not do so again. The Mets official spoke on condition of anonymity because the statement from the organization was the team's only authorized comment. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull, File)
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FILE - In this April 11, 2005, file photo, New York Mets mascot Mr. Met reacts with the crowd during the Mets home opener against the Houston Astros at Shea Stadium in New York. Even Mr. Met is frustrated with the team's start. New York's beloved mascot flashed an upraised middle finger at a fan during Wednesday night's, May 31, 2017, 7-1 loss to the Milwaukee Brewers, and the employee will not work for the Mets again. A Mets official told The Associated Press more than one person wears the Mr. Met costume during each season, and the person who donned it Wednesday night will not do so again. The Mets official spoke on condition of anonymity because the statement from the organization was the team's only authorized comment. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull, File)

SALEM, Ky. (AP) _ Is that a bird in the tree? A cat? No, it’s Rocco the dog, who had to be rescued by firefighters when the small dachshund got stuck inside a tree trunk.

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Authorities say two off-duty Kentucky state troopers were mowing a cemetery in Salem on Thursday when they heard a dog barking. They looked around for several minutes, and finally, they found the pooch _ trapped inside the tree.

Apparently Rocco had climbed into a nearby hole dug by a groundhog and found his way up through the tree trunk. That’s where he became stuck.

A firefighter came out and cut part of the tree, safely freeing Rocco.

The opening in the tree is now big enough Rocco _ if he dares go on another adventure like that.

PITTSBURGH (AP) _ A text message sent to the wrong number led to a Pittsburgh couple scoring free tickets to see the Penguins play Game 2 in the Stanley Cup Final.

KDKA-TV reports (http://cbsloc.al/2sjMRoJ ) Amy Santora received a text offering four tickets to Wednesday night’s game against Nashville. She called the number, and the man at the other end said he sent the text to the wrong number.

Santora says the man called her back a few minutes later, saying the text’s intended recipient only wanted one set of the tickets.

The tickets were priced at $329. The man told Santora she could have them for free.

Santora and her husband took the man up on his offer, finding seats behind the goalie.

As for the mystery texter, Santora says “whoever you are, thank you.”

AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) _ President Donald Trump’s mysterious tweeted typo covfefe is coming soon to a license plate near you.

The Maine Department of Motor Vehicles confirms someone claimed COVFEFE for a personalized license plate just hours after the Republican president’s now-infamous tweet at 12:06 a.m. Wednesday. Local media report it’s also happening in other states, including Nebraska and North Carolina.

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The word took social media by storm after the president tweeted about “constant negative press covfefe.” Trump later poked fun at it, saying, “Who can figure out the true meaning of `covfefe’ ??? Enjoy!”

Whoever claimed the Maine plate remains just as much a mystery as the word itself.

Twitter user Joe Blanchette tweeted a photo suggesting he was the lucky motorist. But he says he balked at the last minute out of fear of “plate regret.”

SUSSEX, Wis. (AP) _ A water tower emblazoned with the word “sex” greeted drivers as they passed through a town in southeast Wisconsin, thanks to an ill-timed painting break.

The gaffe turned up in Sussex, a village about 20 miles northwest of Milwaukee.

WTMJ-TV reports that workers painting the town’s name on the water tower stopped midway through to allow the paint to dry Wednesday. Village Administrator Jeremy Smith tells the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel the word was fully covered by late Thursday morning.

One driver, Jessica Bruss, told the Milwaukee television station she “almost drove off the road” when her 8-year-old son pointed out the word as they drove past the water tower Wednesday on their way to his first baseball game.

Bruss says the unfinished paint work may be funny for adults, but added: “People should remember that kids are seeing it.”

NEW YORK (AP) _ Instead of walking up the aisle to pick up his diploma, a New York City nursing student held his own graduation ceremony with fellow riders after his subway car stalled.

Jerich Alcantara tells CBS New York (http://cbsloc.al/2rcyRPf ) he was traveling to Manhattan’s Hunter College for the ceremony Tuesday morning when his subway got stuck.

Alcantara, who was wearing his cap and gown, says he was upset at first. Minutes turned to hours. Finally, his friend played a graduation song and the whole subway car got in on the act.

Video of the subway ceremony posted to Facebook shows Alcantera’s friend handing him a mock diploma and shaking his hand as passengers wished him well.

Alcantara finally arrived at the real commencement just as it was ending.

LAS CRUCES, N.M. (AP) _ A construction site in southern New Mexico, which sparked buzz with a fake sign announcing it as a future home of a Cheesecake Factory, is really a future emergency center.

The Las Cruces Sun-News reports (https://goo.gl/aIJF5k) that officials say pranksters put up the bogus sign on a gate as a joke.

Still, the fake sign announcing “The Cheesecake Factory Fall 2017” and another one saying “Dave and Busters Coming Soon” generated excitement on social media in Las Cruces, a city of 100,000 people near the U.S.-Mexico border.

City officials dashed those hopes Thursday by confirming the site is destined to be an emergency department for MountainView Regional Medical Center.

The Las Cruces Police Department says the pranksters could face charges.

NEW YORK (AP) _ Even Mr. Met is frustrated with the team’s disappointing start.

New York’s funny-looking mascot flashed his “middle” finger at a fan during Wednesday night’s 7-1 loss to the Milwaukee Brewers, and the team says the employee who did it won’t work in the costume again.

A person tweeted video of the incident, which soon went viral online, and the club quickly issued a statement.

“We apologize for the inappropriate action of this employee,” the Mets said in an email attributed to the organization. “We do not condone this type of behavior. We are dealing with this matter internally.”

A Mets official told The Associated Press more than one person wears the Mr. Met costume during each season, and the person who donned it Wednesday night will not do so again. The Mets official spoke on condition of anonymity because the statement from the organization was the team’s only authorized comment.

Mr. Met, known for an oversized head with baseball seams, is among the sport’s most recognized mascots. Technically, he has only four digits on each hand _ three fingers and a thumb.

CANBERRA, Australia (AP) _ A 73-year-old Australian fisherman said that he caught a far bigger fish than he hoped for when a 2.7-meter (9-foot) great white shark leapt into his boat, knocking him off his feet.

Terry Selwood was left with a badly bruised and bleeding right arm where the airborne shark struck him with a pectoral fin as it landed on him on the deck of the 4.5-meter (15-foot) power boat Saturday off Evans Head, 725 kilometers (450 miles) north of Sydney.

Selwood sprung up on the gunnel at the bow of the boat to avoid the thrashing shark and steadied himself by clinging to the tubular metal frame of the sun shelter, known as a bimini.

“I didn’t give it a chance to look me in the eyes. I wanted to get up and get on top of the gunnel because it was thrashing around madly,” Selwood told Australian Broadcasting Corp.

“Flash Gordon wouldn’t have caught me,” he said, referring to the athletic science fiction comic book hero of the 1930s.

Selwood used a hand-held radio to call the Evans Head coast guard and stayed on the gunnel until a rescue boat arrived.

Coast guard skipper Bill Bates said he misread the danger when Selwood reported his predicament.

“He said, `I’m injured, I’ve broken my arm, I’ve got lacerations and there’s a shark in my boat,’” Bates said.

“Often a fisherman will bring a small shark on board _ maybe 2 or 3 feet (up to 1 meter) _ and they’re still ferocious. That’s what I was expecting, but I was totally wrong,” he added.

The coast guard crew rescued Selwood, but left the shark alone. The shark was estimated to weigh 200 kilograms (440 pounds).

“The shark was thrashing inside the boat, taking up the entire deck area _ there was no way you’d put a foot in there,” Bates said.

The coast guard took Selwood to paramedics at Evans Head, where his badly swollen arm was cleared of any fracture.

EDMONTON, Alberta (AP) _ A romantic moment aboard a hot air balloon nearly ended in tragedy when the balloon crashed just moments after a couple got engaged on board.

Christine Peters had just said yes to Stephen Peters’ proposal in the sky near Edmonton, Alberta, in Canada. She tells CTV Edmonton that the balloon then quickly began falling out of the sky and the pilot told the 10 passengers aboard to brace themselves.

Peters says the balloon landed in a tree. The pilot was able to free it for a bit before hitting another tree and then the ground. Peters says it dragged for another 100 to 200 feet before finally coming to a stop. No one was hurt.

Martin tells CTV the crash has given him an “awesome” proposal story.

ALLENTOWN, Pa. (AP) _ Police say a Pennsylvania man repeatedly called 911 while intoxicated because he was seeking conversation.

Pennsylvania State Police say 51-year-old Larry Keiser first called around 10:30 p.m. Friday because he wanted to speak with a police officer. He said there was no emergency.

Keiser called five more times, leading police to show up at his home in North Whitehall Township after midnight.

The man told officers he drank several beers because he was upset about a family situation. Troopers told Keiser not to call 911 again unless there was an emergency, and he said he wouldn’t call again.

Troopers say he called 911 the minute after officers left.

Keiser has been arrested and is facing charges that include intentionally calling 911 for other than emergency purposes.

CANTON, Ohio (AP) _ Three centenarian sisters have been honored at the final graduation ceremony of the Ohio high school they attended.

Hazel Jarrell, who is 104 years old, was a member of the class of 1932 at Canton Township High School, the first graduating class at the school now known as Canton South High School in northeastern Ohio.

Two of Jarrell’s sisters, 102-year-old Irene Jarrell and 100-year-old Ruth Jarrell Gerber Hall, were also graduates of the school.

The Repository reports (http://bit.ly/2rTit7C ) the three were recognized at Tuesday’s Canton South High School graduation.

The school is scheduled for demolition in a couple months and will be replaced by a new facility that’s almost done.

Hazel Jarrell says she’s saddened at the school’s demise but understands that a new building is needed.

PITTSBURGH (AP) _ Prosecutors are dropping charges filed against a Tennessee man for throwing a catfish onto the rink in Pittsburgh during the opening of the Stanley Cup Final. Jacob Waddell, 36, was charged in Allegheny County with disorderly conduct, possessing instruments of crime and disrupting meetings or processions after tossing the dead fish over the glass surrounding the rink Monday night during the Nashville Predators-Pittsburgh Penguins game.

District Attorney Stephen Zappala said in a Facebook post Wednesday that Waddell’s actions “do not rise to the level of criminal charges” so the charges “will be withdrawn in a timely manner.”

Nashville Mayor Megan Barry had called for the charges to be “quickly dismissed.”

Waddell called himself “a dumb redneck with a bad idea” in a conversation with Nashville radio station WGFX-FM . He said he bought an “entirely too big” catfish in Tennessee, fileted it and cut half the spine out, and then ran over it with his pickup truck several times to make it easier to pack.

“I tried putting it in my boot, but ... the head was too damn big,” he said. “No matter how much I ran over it with the truck, the head was too damn big.”

He said he sprayed the fish with cologne and body spray, packed it in a cooler, and sneaked it into the arena by stuffing it down his pants between two layers of regular and compression underwear _ having tested the method by wearing the fish at his in-law’s home for 20 minutes without them suspecting anything. He took his $350 upper-level seat before descending to the lower level to accomplish the stunt.

“It was absolutely _ ten times over _ worth it,” he told the station. “I would do it a thousand more times, absolutely.”

NEW YORK (AP) _ A New York City carriage horse is safely back in its stable after breaking free and running wild through rush hour traffic.

The horse, a 12-year-old mare named Goldie, broke free on Tuesday while being taken back to her stable in the Hell’s Kitchen neighborhood of Manhattan. Witnesses say Goldie soon went into a full gallop, cutting off cars and running across streets.

After running eleven blocks, Goldie returned to her stable on her own. She was not injured.

A carriage driver says it wasn’t that big of a deal and tells WNBC-TV that Goldie probably wanted some exercise after a slow day at work.

HILTON HEAD ISLAND, S.C. (AP) _ Volunteers have helped a disoriented 400-pound sea turtle make its way back to the ocean off the South Carolina coast.

Hilton Head Island Sea Turtle Protection Project volunteers on Tuesday followed a set of tracks from the surf nearly a mile behind the sand dunes to the female nesting sea turtle.

Volunteer Leigh West told The Island Packet (http://bit.ly/2qwHsxs ) the turtle was tired from all the walking and was missing a left flipper, which made it hard to move.

Two lifeguards joined the volunteers as they carried and pushed the turtle back to sea.

The volunteers have faced other interesting rescues over the past few years: In 2012, a confused sea turtle was found in a resort swimming pool on Hilton Head.

ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. (AP) _ Scientists continue to track Twitter’s favorite great white shark as it swims near the coast of New Jersey.

The shark is known as Mary Lee and showed up in waters near Atlantic City on Wednesday morning. She was detected off the coast of Cape May with a male great white named Cisco on Saturday.

Members of the nonprofit group OCEARCH have actively tracked Mary Lee since they tagged her in 2012. Mary Lee has logged close to 40,000 miles travelling along the East Coast since then.

The great white’s Twitter profile is managed by the nonprofit group and has more than 100,000 followers.