National

Be glad these little squirrels are history

BUENOS AIRES, Argentina — Fossils of a tiny and previously unknown saber-toothed, squirrel-like creature have been discovered in Argentina, providing new clues to how small mammals lived among dinosaurs more than 93 million years ago, scientists said Thursday.

Cronopio dentiacutus had extremely long teeth, a narrow snout and large eye sockets, meaning it probably moved around at night to be able to survive among huge carnivorous beasts in the late Cretaceous period, according to the team that discovered the fossil in the Patagonian province of Rio Negro.

Donors put Santa back on calendar

HARRISBURG, Pa. —Merry Christmas, residents of Pennsylvania's cash-strapped capital: Santa Claus is coming to town after all.

Harrisburg Mayor Linda Thompson said Thursday the city's annual holiday parade is back on the calendar after two sponsors donated $39,000.

Officials in the city about 100 miles west of Philadelphia had announced two weeks ago the Nov. 19 event would be canceled because organizers didn't raise the necessary $25,000.

But The Patriot-News reports Direct Energy is contributing $24,000 and PinnacleHealth has given $15,000.

The city of 47,000 residents could use some good cheer. Its City Council filed for federal bankruptcy protection last month, and state officials later enacted a financial takeover.

Light pole just misses Alaska police officer

ANCHORAGE, Alaska — An Anchorage police officer's patrol car nearly got smashed by a light pole that was knocked off its base by another driver.

The incident was captured Tuesday by Officer Rick Dykstra's dashboard video camera. The department released the video Wednesday. It shows the pole toppling from the right and crashing onto the highway.

The officer was unable to avoid running over the pole.

"You're like, 'Oh, no, no, no, no, no, no, don't hit. And then it's just, bloop, like a speed bump," said department spokeswoman Anita Shell.

Judge tells truck stop, the tiger's got to go

GROSSE TETE, La. —Leonard Foster peered into the cage holding the 550-pound tiger at the Tiger Truck Stop in Louisiana and snapped one photo after another in awe.

"He's so big. He's wonderful," exclaimed Foster, a 47-year-old trucker from Atlanta.

Foster might just be lucky to see the tiger when he did. If a state district judge's ruling stands, this tiger named Tony may not be at the truck stop much longer. And gone will be one of the biggest curiosities for truckers and motorists coming off a nearby interstate into the south Louisiana community of Grosse Tete.

Judge Mike Caldwell ruled Wednesday in favor of a motion by the Animal Legal Defense Fund to force the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries to revoke the permit that allows Tiger Truck Stop Inc. and its owner, Michael Sandlin, to keep the tiger at the business.

Sex offender ban from Facebook questioned

BATON ROUGE, La. —A federal judge says a Louisiana law that bans certain sex offenders from Facebook and other social networking sites is "constitutionally problematic."

U.S. District Judge Brian Jackson in Baton Rouge heard arguments Wednesday from a lawyer representing two convicted sex offenders who want to overturn the law, and from the attorney general's office defending the statute.

The law makes it a crime for those convicted of a sex offense against a minor or video voyeurism to use networking websites, chat rooms and peer-to-peer networks.

Barking dogs to draw fines in Los Angeles

LOS ANGELES — Barking dogs can lead to a hefty fine in Los Angeles.

The City Council on Tuesday approved an ordinance that fines owners of excessively barking dogs $250 for a first offense, $500 for a second and $1,000 for a third if a Department of Animal Services hearing officer decides the pooch is barking too much.

City prosecutor Dov Lesel tells the Los Angeles Times that a dog's barking would be considered excessive if it continued for 10 minutes or more, or intermittently for a half-hour or more within a three-hour period.

Robbers were hungry, but didn't need to call

YEADON, Pa. —Two men are behind bars after they took a Pennsylvania teen's meatball sandwich at gunpoint but didn't make off with his cell phone.

The Delaware County Daily Times reports four Philadelphia men are being held on $150,000 bail after a 13-year-old boy was robbed over the weekend in nearby Yeadon.

Police say two men approached the boy on Saturday evening and pulled a gun before rifling through his pockets. The men allegedly took his sandwich before fleeing in a car.

The teen called police, who soon located a car matching the description.

  Comments