The morning Odds & Ends
MONTPELIER, Vt. A company that sells cuddly Teddy bears through the mail has angered mental health advocates with a special item for Valentines Day.The Vermont Teddy Bear Co. is featuring a 15-inch bear in a straitjacket. The $69.95 stuffed animal is called the Crazy for You Bear and comes with its own commitment papers.This bear was created in the spirit of Valentines Day and as with all of our bears it was designed to be a lighthearted depiction of the sentiment of love, the company said in a statement.Mental health advocates believe the bear is a tasteless use of marketing that stigmatizes persons with mental illness, said Jerry Goessel, executive director of the Vermont chapter of the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill.The company said it would discontinue the bear, but not before Feb. 14.We recognize that this is a sensitive, human issue and sincerely apologize if we have offended anyone, the firm said. This bear was developed just for Valentines Day and is not a permanent addition to our product line.
FLORENCE, Ala. Gary Gallien is a house painter. But earlier this week he became a dog catcher literally.Working with a crew at an apartment complex in Florence, Gallien caught a small dog as it fell from a fifth-floor balcony.Gallien said he had stepped outside the building Tuesday when he heard a woman scream and saw a white, furry object falling toward him.Somebody hollered and I looked up and just stuck out my arms and caught it, he said. I caught it like a football. I was fixing to run for a touchdown with it.Gallien said he did not know where the dog came from, but he took it back to the fifth floor and turned it loose in the hall.Thats like the Funniest Home Videos on TV, Gallien said. I wish we had been filming it, so I could have sent it in. It would have won first place.
RUSSELLVILLE, Ark. What the owners of The West Main Cafe were apparently cooking up at night has landed them in jail.Police said they believe the operators of the restaurant were making methamphetamine in the kitchen on the same equipment they were using to cook food for customers.Agents found meth in a room next to the kitchen, coffee filters with drug residue and other ingredients associated with the manufacturing of the drug, said Larry Johnson, director of the Fifth Judicial District Drug Task Force.People eating at the restaurant at the time of a police raid on Wednesday were asked to leave, and their food sat on the tables as agents inventoried items seized from the cafe.Johnson said the two restaurant operators were apparently cooking the drugs at night when the restaurant was closed. According to a police report, flammable chemicals also were found in the kitchen and could have ignited.The restaurant was closed indefinitely.
WEST MEMPHIS, Ark. For months, officers have been getting reports about a man making late-night runs in the buff. On Monday, police said they think they got their mystery jogger.Fate Patterson, 39, of West Memphis, was arrested after he ran past a police car and failed to stop when he was ordered to do so by officers. Police chased him and were able to rein him in by using a Taser.Patterson was charged with indecent exposure, fleeing and resisting arrest.Mike Allen, assistant chief of the West Memphis police department, said that it did not initially appear that the man was mentally ill. He did not disclose his reasons for running without his clothes.You know, this one has just got me kind of speechless, said Allen.
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