Royal Oak, MI – Detroit Zoo patrons of all ages showed up today for the joyous reopening of the Detroit Zoo after budget cuts forced a nearly two month closure. Some animals had to be relocated and several exhibits over went an overhaul to make them more cost effective.
“This is a wonderful day for our community,” said Zoo Director Dave Rogerson standing in front of one the new exhibits. “We are one of the first zoos in the country to have an entire exhibit devoted specifically to squirrels.”
The new exhibit entitled “Backyard Buddies” is a grassy area filled with over 100 squirrels and patrons are encouraged to feed the squirrels “whatever they would like” as noted on one of the exhibit signs.
Jessica Saunders, a six year old from Livonia, really loved the exhibit. “They came right to me and ate from my hands. One even took some popcorn from my hand.”
Jessica’s eight year old brother Ricky was not as impressed. “One of them bit my finger and stole my hot dog. He was big and had a foamy mouth,” he said fighting back tears.
The “Backyard Buddies” exhibit extends beyond the squirrel exhibit and also includes a special display for sparrows and seagulls. The popular butterfly house was revamped and is now called the mosquito hut.
Some of the newer exhibits received a mixed reaction.
“They replaced the gorillas with a homeless guy eating a banana,” said Dave Stockton, 48 of Westland. “He swore at my wife and threw a shoe at us. I’m never coming back here.”
Some people protested outside the zoo office when they found out the Zebra exhibit had been closed and replaced with a hot dog stand selling a “striped dog.”
“I can absolutely guarantee that is not Zebra meat,” an official who refused to be named said.
The Detroit Zoo has been in a financial crisis ever since State and Federal funding was cut by nearly 25 percent. The Zoo has been seeking private donations from individuals and sponsors for exhibits.
Newly sponsored exhibits include the McDonalds “Pet Your Food” petting zoo and the Kellogg’s “Tony the Tiger Exhibit” where all tigers were replaced with comical Tony the Tiger cardboard cut outs.
“I know it is hard not having some of the popular animals and displays around but I think we are offering new and exciting exhibits that the public will love just as much,” Rogerson said.
Leavenworth, KS – A volunteer bell ringer for the Salvation Army was severely beaten with his own bell yesterday while monitoring a Salvation Army kettle in the prison yard of the Leavenworth Federal Penitentiary.
Davis Sanders, a 48 year-old resident of Leavenworth, is recovering from his wounds at nearby Saint John Hospital. He has been a volunteer with the Salvation Army for four years.
“I just can’t believe this happened, especially this time of year.” said Sanders with disbelief. “I had only been in the yard for five minutes when I was attacked from behind and the rest was just a blur.”
Matthew Walker, a regional coordinator for the charity, shared in Sanders disbelief; “I am still in shock. To think that such a terrible thing could happen so close to home really makes you wonder. If we’re not safe in a prison yard, where are we safe?”
This is the first year that the Salvation Army has attempted to collect donations at the prison explained Walker. “Due to the economic climate we were looking for new and innovative ways to raise money for the poor and those that need it most.”
A prison guard who wished to remain anonymous had this to say about the incident. “This is the stupidest (expletive) thing I have ever seen. These guys are murderers and gangbangers. You’re going to have someone guarding a pot full of cash ringing a (expletive) bell. He’s lucky they didn’t shove the bell up his (expletive) til’ he choked.”
Prison officials are investigating the incident but so far witnesses have not been cooperative.
An inmate at the prison that goes by the name Dirt Devil had this to say about the incident, “One second I hear dingaling, the next I hear screamy scream. If you ask me I think he did it to himself.”
Sanders, who suffered a bruised chin and mild concussion, is expected to make a full recovery.
While no cash was taken from the kettle it is believed that three cigarettes and at least one shank were stolen in the incident.
Anyone with information regarding the beating is asked to call prison officials.
Allen Park, MI –Detroit Lions defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh has been fined $20,000 by the NFL for a hug he delivered to his mother, Bernadette.
The hug occurred after the Detroit Lions 24-20 loss to the Chicago Bears on Sunday. The league called the hug “an unnecessary, non-football act.”
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell had this to say about the fine. “It is very important that we protect the player’s families, especially their mother’s from blindside hugs especially those that occur after the game is over.”
Detroit Lions Coach Jim Schwartz disagreed with the fine, “Replays clearly showed that the hug was in the middle to upper back and not around the head and neck area.”
Suh had this to add, “I’m not going to stop hugging my mom just because the NFL has a problem with it. I owe it to my family, friends and teammates to continue to love my mom.”
This is the third time that Suh has been fined by the NFL in this his rookie season. He was fined $10,000 in the pre-season for an “aggressive handshake” and $15,000 for a “hard fist bump.”
Suh plans to appeal the fine.