10 Top Teroes Stories of 2016

1. Blind Goat With Anxiety Calms Down When She’s Wearing a Duck Costume

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 This is Polly, a rescue goat who lives with Leanne Lauricella of Goats of Anarchy, a sanctuary that looks after goats with special needs.

Polly suffers from anxiety, as well as blindness and neurological problems, and frantically runs around crying when she can’t find her owner.

One day, Leanne was shopping around Halloween-time and spotted a child’s duck costume.

When Lauricella put the duck costume on Polly for a photo, something amazing happened.

"As soon as I put it on her, she just instantly got calm," Lauricella said.

She said for Polly it’s best for her to wear “diapers in the house, and baby onesies to hold the diapers on, so she is used to being clothed,” so the warm duck costume is perfect for her.

The duck suit seemed to have the same calming effect as a ThunderShirt, or being swaddled in a blanket, but the costume works better than anything.

"There's something about that duck costume that calms her," she said. "She goes into a little trance. She just closes her eyes and she's out."

Now, whenever Polly has an anxiety attack, Lauricella puts her into the duck costume, and voila — instant calm.

"She just calms down and goes to sleep," Lauricella said. "Instantly. It's become a thing that she's known for."

Other costumes seem to have the same calming effect on Polly, including a pig costume and a fox costume, but the duck remains the favorite.

And when she outgrows the costumes, they might have found another solution to help keep her calm — another rescue goat named Pocket who arrived a few days ago and is handicapped.

"When Pocket came home, I laid him on [Polly's] back and it just calmed her right down and she went to sleep," Lauricella said.

“It was almost like that duck costume,” she continued. “I’ve noticed that anytime he’s lying next to her, she just gets calm. I’ve never seen her do that with another goat here.”
I can’t even take the cuteness.

It’s too much.

But if you want to check out more of Polly’s adventures, as well as the other rescue animals, be sure to follow Goats of Anarchy on Instagram.

2. ABC7 News car broken into while crew was attending anti-robbery press conference in D.C.

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 WASHINGTON (ABC7) — An ABC7 News car was broken into while the crew was attending a press conference held by D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser and Police Chief Cathy Lanier to discuss a Task Force created to fight robberies.

According to ABC7 News reporter Stephen Tschida, thieves tore through the news vehicle Wednesday morning and a culprit smashed a window out of the car and stole a cache of equipment.

Tschida said the crime happened within view of where the mayor and chief were speaking, approximately 100 feet away.
ABC7 News will have more on this developing story as information becomes available.

3. Long lunch: Spanish civil servant skips work for years without anyone noticing

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 Only when Joaquín García, a Spanish civil servant, was due to collect an award for two decades of loyal and dedicated service did anyone realise that he had not, in fact, shown up to work for at least six years – and possibly as many as 14.

García, a 69-year-old engineer, began working for the local authority in the south-western city of Cádiz in 1990, according to el Mundo, and in 1996 was posted to the municipal water board, Agua de Cadiz, where his job was to supervise a waste water treatment plant.

In 2010, when García – who has now retired – was due to collect his long-service medal, the man who had hired him, deputy mayor Jorge Blas Fernández, wondered where he was: “He was still on the payroll,” he told the paper. “I thought, where is this man? Is he still there? Has he retired? Has he died?”

After the former manager of the water board, who had the office opposite Garcia’s, told Fernández he had not seen his employee for several years, the deputy mayor called the engineer in. “I asked him: what are you doing?” Fernández said. “What did you do yesterday? And the previous month? He could not answer.”

A court this week fined Garcia €27,000 (£21,000), the equivalent after tax of one year of his annual salary, having earlier found that the engineer did not appear to have occupied his office for “at least six years” and had done “absolutely no work” between 2007 and 2010, the year before he retired.

García told the court that he had turned up to the office, although he admitted he may not have kept regular business hours. He said he was the victim of workplace bullying because of his family’s socialist politics and had been deliberately sidelined at the water board.

His friends told El Mundo that the engineer had been unwilling to report his allegations of harassment because he “had a family to support” and was worried that he would not find another job at his age. He had been so depressed by his situation that he had seen a psychiatrist, they said.

The tribunal concluded that the water board had believed García was the responsibility of the city council for most of the period of his employment, while the city council thought he was working for the water board.

The engineer made the most of the confusion, becoming an avid reader of philosophy and an expert on the works of Spinoza, the Dutch philosopher credited with laying the foundations of the Enlightenment.

4. "Pizzagate" shooting suspect Edgar Maddison Welch facing federal charges

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WASHINGTON, D.C. - A North Carolina man who fired an assault rifle multiple times inside a pizza restaurant in the nation’s capital while he claimed he was investigating the internet conspiracy theory known as “pizzagate” will face federal charges.

Edgar Maddison Welch of Salisbury, North Carolina, appeared briefly in Superior Court in the District of Columbia on Tuesday.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Sonali Patel told a judge that prosecutors are dismissing the local charges because they have obtained a federal arrest warrant. Patel didn’t detail the federal charges. It’s not clear when Welch will appear in federal court.

The 28-year-old Welch has been in jail since the Dec. 4 shooting at Comet Ping Pong, which has been falsely rumored to be the site of a child sex trafficking ring run by prominent Democrats.

Welch’s parents were in court, but declined to speak to a reporter.

Police have said Welch acknowledged coming to “self-investigate” the conspiracy theory and surrendered “when he found no evidence that underage children were being harbored in the restaurant.” No one was hurt.

In an interview with the New York Times, Welch expressed regret.

“I just wanted to do some good and went about it the wrong way,” Welch said.

Welch, 28, told the newspaper he started driving to Washington from his Salisbury, North Carolina, home intending only to give the Comet Ping Pong pizza restaurant a “closer look.” But while on the way, he said he felt his “heart breaking over the thought of innocent people suffering.”

Welch would not say why he brought an AR-15 into the pizza shop and fired it, the newspaper reported.

Asked what he thought when he found there were no children in the restaurant, Welch said: “The intel on this wasn’t 100 percent.” But he would not completely dismiss the online claims while talking to the newspaper, conceding only that there were no children “inside that dwelling.”

Welch appears to have lived an aimless life that became turbulent in the weeks before he was drawn to the nation’s capital by a fake news story.

Friends and family say he is a well-meaning father of two girls who wanted to be a firefighter. But he also unnerved some with his religious fervor and sometimes had trouble detaching himself from the internet. 

Unhinged Trump supporter bursts in on Christmas Mass to rant about ‘Pizzagate’

Despite the near-tragedy of a gunman strolling into a Washington D.C. pizzeria with an assault rifle and absolutely no evidence, the conspiracy theory known as Pizzagate just refuses to die.

A Philadelphia man–who’s also an infamous Donald Trump supporter–uploaded a video Wednesday evening that he filmed while bursting in on Christmas Mass at The Cathedral Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul to scream at the congregation about Hillary Clinton’s nonexistent child sex slavery ring.

“Pizzagate is real! Pizzagate is real! The Catholic church has been sexually abusing children. Thousands of them for decades,” the man filming the video shouts as rows and rows of congregants at the Catholic church turned around in shocked horror. A security guard promptly responded by removing him from the church.

As a warning, there’s some strong language in this video. A more critical warning would be that this may be the most painfully awkward thing you watch in your life.

The Philly Voice identified the man behind the Twitter account as Howard Caplan, who was previously known in the Philadelphia area for the giant “Hillary for Prison” sign he would bring to local Clinton campaign events. The Voice had previously interviewed Caplan in late November, shortly after Trump’s victory.

“I don’t know what you’re allowed to write, but have you heard about Pizzagate?” Caplan asked the Voice reporter, which is an ominous start to any conversation.

He later told the New York Post that he interrupted the Sunday service as a “Christmas gift to the people at the church.”

Well, congratulations. You did it. You managed to terrify and anger a lot of Catholics, who are statistically more likely to be Trump voters. That was the goal here, right? Or was it to prove a conspiracy theory that Clinton and her campaign manager, John Podesta, are operating a child sex ring out of a Washington D.C. pizza parlor/ping pongery? I’m sorry, I seem to have lost track.

5. ‘Sgt. Pepper’s’-style homage to celebrity deaths of 2016 runs out of space

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 You might have run across the viral image that uses the unforgettable “Sgt. Pepper’s” album cover, but replaces the images on it with celebrities who died in 2016.

David Bowie. John Glenn. Fidel Castro. Leon Russell. Arnold Palmer. Leonard Cohen. Alan Rickman.

And just recently, George Michael and Carrie Fisher.

And then Debbie Reynolds, Carrie’s mother, who died Wednesday at 84. There are still a few days left in 2016, the Year of Loss.

The Twitter account for London art director Chris Barker, who created the collage, now has that image at 4.2 million impressions. Add to that tens of thousands of reposts on the internet.

“I had no idea millions of people were going to engage with it,” he says in an interview carried over his Twitter account. “I thought, tops, a couple of hundred people would like it and then it’d disappear.”

Not quite.

Barker first posted the image Nov. 9. He says he just wanted to use graphics to sum up the tumultuous year, not only with personalities but such events as Brexit, important to where he lived.

He first considered having David Bowie at the center and everything else orbiting around it.

“A lot of people speculate that Bowie was actually the glue that was holding the universe together. It’s certainly been a bit different since he tragically passed away,” Barker wrote in an essay.

Then he found a full-length shot of Bowie, and to Barker it looked like an image that belonged on that Beatles’ 1967 album “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.”

Sure, it was “a bit of a designer cliché.” But a fantastic cliché. He completed the collage in three hours.

“At first I didn’t have enough people to fill,” says Barker. “The original album has 61 or so characters. I didn’t have that many so I was actually scrambling around for ‘extra dead people,’ would you believe! So I decided to enlarge all their heads a bit and there would be around 40 on the original.”

But since Nov. 9, personality after personality has died.

He’s now got 82 people on the collage. “I’ve totally run out of space,” says Barker.

After adding Carrie Fisher, he tweeted, “I’m really sorry everyone. This is so sad. I feel awful. #RIPCarrieFisher #sgtpepper2016 May the force be with 2017.”

Then he woke Thursday morning London time to the news that Debbie Reynolds had died.

“Oh, god, that poor woman. This is horrible,” says Barker.

He had the collage with R2-D2, the droid in “Star Wars,” beaming Carrie Fisher as Princess Leia.

In the revised one, Debbie Reynolds is standing alongside her, smiling and reaching out to her daughter. It packs an emotional punch.

“I mean, it’s so mawkish. Now I feel awful doing this. Like a coffin chaser,” he says.

Barker soon learned what happens when you go viral.

Within two minutes of the original posting, Barker was getting messages about an error. Lemmy Kilmister, who fronted the heavy-metal band Motorhead, died in 2015 (Dec. 28), not in 2016.

“A commenter said I should say I was counting his death from when his liver realized a week later,” says Barker.

Now, he says, he gets messages about this or that personality not being included.

“I ignored the millennials talking about Harambe the gorilla (shot and killed at the Cincinnati Zoo after grabbing and dragging a young boy). That’s their thing and I’m not qualified to talk about it,” says Barker.

“People’s names I’ve never heard before being hurled at me in disgust at their lack of inclusion. That is kind of inevitable really, I can’t be expected to include every single person from every walk of life from every country in the world in one image, can I?”

As for 2017, Barker says he’s not planning on a similar image.

Not “unless someone hires me to do it and gives me a massive picture budget,” he says.

He hopes maybe it’ll help him get freelance work, says Barker.

“People might want to hire ‘that dead celebrity Photoshop dude,’ ” he says. “But not just to Photoshop dead celebrities. Please.”

2016 Only Seems Like The Worst Year Ever For Celebrity Deaths

From David Bowie in January to Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds in the final days of the year, it seems as if there was an unusually high number of celebrity deaths in 2016.

Surprisingly, there’s little information to indicate that 2016 was a particularly deadly year for artists and performers. For instance, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, the group that organizes the Oscars and its famous “In Memoriam” segment, lists fewer Academy members’ deaths in 2016 than it has in past years, notes The Wrap. Snopes.com also conducted an analysis of “notable death” stories published in several news outlets from 2013 to 2016 and found that, in fact, 2016 did not have a high number of celebrity deaths compared to recent previous years.

Instead, the “Fuck you, 2016” sentiment is likely just a collective feeling, borne by social media, that this was “the worst year ever” when it came to the deaths of global icons like Prince, Muhammad Ali, John Glenn, and other figures who made a lasting cultural impact in the U.S. and around the world.

But there are some good reasons we believe we’re witnessing a kind of explosion of celebrity deaths, explains Joshua Gamson, a sociologist of celebrity culture at the University of San Francisco and a Gen-Xer who said he was deeply affected by the loss of prominent stars and role models.

Absent any real information that “more” celebrities died in 2016, as compared to 2015 or 2014, Gamson suspects that our collective sense of dismay and sadness is not due to the sheer volume of celebrity deaths, but a complex mix of destabilizing current events and an ever-connected social media ecosystem that updates us instantly on the latest news while also creating a public space for people to commiserate and mourn.

6.  Suspected NYC gold bucket thief may be hiding in Calif., cops say

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Suspected NYC gold bucket thief may be hiding in Calif., cops say

New York City police say they believe the opportunistic thief who swiped an 86-pound bucket of gold flakes worth nearly $1.6 million off an armored truck in Manhattan is hiding out on the West Coast.

Detectives say the man fled to Orlando, Florida after the Sept. 29 theft before ultimately landing in California. Police believe he’s hiding out in the Los Angeles area with the stolen gold.

The theft occurred in broad daylight and was caught on street surveillance cameras.

Police say their suspect is 53-year-old Julio Nivelo, who goes by the name Luis Toledo, David Vargas and other aliases. They say he is a career thief from New Jersey who has been arrested and deported back to his native Ecuador several times. 

7.  Mannequin challenge leads to arrest for alleged drug dealers

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 A group of alleged gang members has been arrested after a violence-themed mannequin challenge. According to police in Huntsville, Alabama a group of at least 19 people posed with guns and vehicles as they recreated a shootout at a home. The video of the stunt was uploaded to the Facebook account of Hailey Nichols on Nov. 9 and has been viewed  by at least four million people. Apparently, one of the people was so concerned after viewing the mannequin challenge that they informed Madison County Sheriff’s Office investigators and sent a copy of the video.

Even though no crime was committed by the challenge, investigators were able to identify the home where the stunt was filmed. Police determined that the home was being used to sell marijuana and a search warrant was issued.  Members of the Criminal Investigation/Narcotics unit forcibly breached the door and discovered six people at the residence including children. Police recovered two handguns, an assault rifle, an older single-barrel shotgun, an attack vest, multiple packs of marijuana, ammunition, magazines for the assault rifle and a computer. Police arrested Kenneth White, 49, and Terry Brown, 23, for charges that included marijuana possession and possession of firearms by a convicted felon.

Alleged drug dealers Mannequin challenge According to Captain Mike Salomonsky of the Madison County Sheriff’s Office “You have a lot of people with firearms at one address, And you have to ask yourself the question, ‘why?’ And the second question you have to ask yourself: Is it a public safety issue? There are several persons in the video who may be convicted felons. So, we’re going to try to do some identification, work with the ATF and see if we can generate any charges out of that.”

The investigation is still ongoing and Salomonsky said that he expected more arrests and charges to be filed in the case.

8. WNY woman charged for driving with homemade license plate

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Springville, N.Y. - A Western New York woman was charged for driving with a handmade license plate during a traffic stop in Erie County.

According to our ABC affiliate WKBW, 28-year-old Amanda Schweickert of Springville was pulled over Wednesday morning after an Erie County Sheriff's deputy said he noticed that Schweickert's license plate just didn't look right.

According to the Erie County Sheriff's Office, Schweickert's license plate had been fashioned from cardboard and then painted to look like a legit plate.

Schwieckert was also driving a car with a suspended registration and without insurance.

She was charged with one felony count of possessing a forged instrument, one misdemeanor count of operating a vehicle with a suspended registration and three vehicle and traffic infractions.

Schweickert is currently being held at the Erie County Holding Center in lieu of $400 bail.

9. Dead Seahorses and a Fake Corpse: Top 10 Weirdest Things the TSA Found in 2016 
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As Top Ten lists go, the Transportation Security Administration's list of the most unusual items found at airport checkpoints during the past year is a doozy.

For starters, there were five dead endangered seahorses found inside an oversized bottle of brandy at the Detroit Metropolitan Airport, a replica suicide vest spotted at Richmond International Airport, and a trailer hitch cover shaped like a hand grenade that showed up at San Luis Obispo County Regional Airport.

Then there was the five-bladed flogger someone tried to take on a plane at George Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston.

The list also includes a Hello Kitty-themed firearm found at Bradley International Airport in Connecticut and a movie prop corpse that was spotted at the Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport checkpoint — and given the all-clear to travel.

All 10 items are featured in the quirky video in which TSA social media specialist Bob Burns offers a charmingly corny countdown, commenting on everything except the object described as a "post-apocalyptic bullet adorned gas mask," for which Burns simply takes off his glasses and shakes his head.

Most of the items included in the 2016 edition of the TSA's Top Ten Most Unusual Checkpoint Finds will be familiar to those who follow the TSA blog or its popular Instagram account, where the agency shares a weekly report on the number of firearms (loaded and unloaded) and posts photos of notable "finds."

Travelers who would like to make sure the contents of their carry-on luggage aren't included in TSA 2017 Top Ten List can check to see if an item is permitted via the TSA's "Can I bring my… through the security checkpoint" tool or on the "Ask TSA" Facebook Messenger site.

 10.  Don King: Donald Trump 'shocked the world,' can help negotiate peace

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Boxing legend Don King stood beside President-elect Donald Trump Wednesday to discuss the relationship between Israel and the United States.

"You all know Don King? Who doesn't know Don King," the President-elect asked reporters at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach, Florida.
"It's just great to be an American. And now with our leader, we're gonna ... make America great again," King replied.

King, a longtime friend of Trump's, praised the former reality television star's journey to the White House.
"You have to admit he shocked the world," King said.

Trump has repeatedly accused the Obama administration of not being a strong enough ally of Israel.

King was waving an Israeli flag while he spoke with reporters and said it was a symbol of peace.

"We want everyone to come together as one unit who can make things happen," King said. "He's a leader that can make things happen."

Often frustrated with President Barack Obama, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Wednesday he looks forward to Trump's arrival in the White House in his response to Secretary of State John Kerry's speech criticizing Israeli settlements on the West Bank.

King campaigned for Trump throughout the presidential campaign, arguing that he was the best candidate for black and female voters, two groups that overwhelmingly supported the Democratic candidate, Hillary Clinton.

The political history of Don King
"This is an election about the people and the candidates -- who's the strongest, the bravest, the most courageous. To take them out of that, there is none other than a guy named Donald J. Trump," King said earlier this year. "And then we can make this thing happen where we've got a voice, included not excluded. We are the leftouts: the white woman, people of color."

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