offbeat

Offbeat
5:41 pm
Mon April 22, 2013

Jet Skiers let it rip on the flooded Grand River (VIDEO)

Jetskiing on the flooded Grand River.
YouTube

So much for the "no contact" order from the health department.

These guys suited up and went places they normally can't go:

One commenter asks "That's pretty awesome, but isn't the water disgusting?"

Looks like the fun outweighed the "disgusting" in this case.

H/T Dustin Dwyer

Offbeat
2:00 pm
Wed April 17, 2013

Ann Arbor nuns going to finals on 'American Bible Challenge' game show

Sisters Evangeline, Maria Suso, and Peter Joseph appearing on GSN's 'American Bible Challenge.'
Dominican Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist Facebook

Sure, the three sisters from Ann Arbor's Dominican Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist are probably going to beat you in a game of trivia about the Bible.

But you wouldn't expect them to take you on the physical challenges as well.

It turns out Sister Evangeline, Sister Peter Joseph and Sister Maria Suso are pretty darn good at flipping forks into glasses:

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Offbeat
11:04 am
Fri April 12, 2013

'I want to go to a Bob Seger concert' - 2 years later, a wish granted

Evie Branan.
MLive screenshot from video

The Palm Beach Times, ABC, the Guardian, UPI, the Examiner, even "Perth Now" covered the amazing story of Evie Branan.

The 79 year-old woman woke from a five-year semi-coma in the spring 2011 and said "I want to go to a Bob Seger concert."

Two years later, she got her wish. Here she is dancing at last night's concert with a little help:

From MLive's Sarah Schuch:

At 79 years old, Evie Branan still cheered, threw her hands in the air, shook her booty and rocked out the Bob Seger concert Thursday night.

She met Seger and his family, chatted with crew and band members and received VIP treatment at The Palace of Auburn Hills. Complete strangers recognized her after hearing her name or seeing her pushed through the halls of The Palace.

When she came out of the semi-coma in 2011, Branan wrote a letter to "whomever" looking for love.

"I'm full of pep. I like doing things. I love dancing," she said:

Branan lives at the Willowbrook Manor assisted living facility in Flint Township

Offbeat
3:50 pm
Sun March 17, 2013

Letter from boot camp in 1953 returned to sender

Credit Jean & Bob Rodgers

An ex-soldier living in southwestern Michigan says the U.S. Postal Service has returned a letter he wrote to his wife from boot camp 60 years ago.

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Offbeat
11:20 am
Wed March 13, 2013

Girl brought $20,000 in cash to school, hands it out to friends

A roll of cash (not THE cash that turned up in Taylor).
user psychonaught Wikimedia

A 6th grader in Taylor brought $20,000 in cash in her backpack to school on Monday, school officials told the Taylor police. 

Taylor Police Chief Mary Sclabassi told the Detroit News that the 12-year-old girl said she received the money from another girl who lives across the street from her. 

"The school district called us and said a 12-year-old student had a backpack full of money," Sclabassi told the News. "The principal became aware of it when she heard the student was giving money away to friends. They brought in the student, secured the backpack and retrieved the money she had given away. This is a real first for me."

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Offbeat
4:04 pm
Thu February 14, 2013

Lock-picking horse 'Houdini' making waves on YouTube

Bob Johnson of The Saginaw News posted a piece on Sandy and Don Bonem's lock-picking horse this morning.

The Bonem's shot video of their horse last year and were hoping it would wind up on America's Funniest Videos.

But when that didn't happen, the decided to post it on YouTube:

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Offbeat
11:00 am
Mon January 28, 2013

Superhero window washers swoop down to cheer up patients

Spidey cleans the windows at All Children's Hospital in St. Petersburg, FL.
All Children's Hospital mymodernmet.com

This post from Katie Hosmer on MyModernMet.com caught my eye. 

You've got to clean the windows, so why not do it with a little flair?

The photo to the right is from All Children's Hospital in St. Petersburg, FL.

Window washers from Clearwater's High Rise Window Cleaners got dressed up in Spider-Man costumes and then made several trips from the top of the building to the ground, washing windows and waving at ecstatic patients along the way...As the hospital states, "There were actually three Spider-Men on the job and their high-rise moves were the hands-down hit of the day."

And here's a video of superhero window washers descending on Le Bonheur Children's Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee.

H/T to Zach Feinstein

Offbeat
12:38 pm
Wed October 3, 2012

Petoskey Batman back in action, faces felony charges

A photo of 'Petoskey Batman' on the Michigan Protectors website.
Michigan Protectors

When I posted last April that 'Petoskey Batman' was 'hanging it up,' I was quickly corrected:

Your information is false. The Petoskey Batman is selling off the suit, but he is FAR from hanging it up. He has constructed a new suit, and plans to go back on patrol in a few weeks.

Now we hear news that sure enough, Mark Wayne Williams was at it again.

The Petoskey News reports Williams was arrested last Saturday night for interfering with a police investigation.

Sgt. Jeff Gorno told the News the incident happened in Bear Creek Township:

Troopers were responding to the scene of a personal injury accident in which the driver had left the scene.

“When we arrived, (Williams) was at the scene in his Batman outfit. He wouldn’t clear the scene and we had a canine out there and he kept screwing up the scent,” Gorno said. “He said he wanted to help us look for the driver.”

“We didn’t want the dog to track Batman instead of the accident scene and he was getting in the way of officers who had a job to do.”

Williams’ Batman costume and gear were confiscated. Gorno said he was not carrying any dangerous weapons.

Williams posted bond and was released from the Emmet County Jail.

Williams faces felony changes for "resisting and obstructing police in an investigation."

He was arrested last year after he was spotted on a rooftop in downtown Petoskey. He was ordered not to don his costume while on six months of probation.

'Petoskey Batman' is listed as one of the members of the 'real-life-superhero' group "The Michigan Protectors."

No word on the whereabouts of the bat cave yet:

Offbeat
11:25 am
Fri September 28, 2012

Police digging under driveway for Hoffa, search is a 'circus' for one neighbor

Jimmy Hoffa on WESW-TV's Morning Exchange program sometime between 1971 and 1975.
WEWS-TV YouTube

Police are digging under a driveway in Roseville, Michigan this morning to see if they can come up with evidence of a body.

Ground penetrating radar indicated an "anomaly" under the driveway earlier in the week.

There's wide speculation the body could be former Teamsters union boss Jimmy Hoffa, but that appears to be a long-shot. From CNN:

Police Chief James Berlin told CNN on Thursday that while the tipster's information seems credible, he's not convinced the body is Hoffa's because of the timeline. He spoke with the tipster on August 22 and says he believes the person did see a burial.

Police will send soil samples from the dirt under the driveway to MSU for analysis.

The samples will be sent to a forensic anthropologist and tested for human decomposition. Results aren't expected before next week.

In the meantime, one homeowner tells the Associated Press that the search for Hoffa has turned her neighborhood into a "circus."

Szpunar tells The Associated Press Friday that the Roseville home she's lived in for 24 years has been turned into a "three-ring circus" by onlookers and media members who gawk and take photos.

Szpunar told the AP she just wants to be left alone.

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Offbeat
11:11 am
Thu September 27, 2012

Legitimate membership into the 'mile high club'? Michigan business wants to help

Inside the Piper Cherokee Six. Their website reads "Plenty of room for your romantic encounter."
Courtesy milehightc.com

Not surprisingly, there are online, how-to instructions for joining the 'mile high club,' but to join might set off a security alert.

That's where someone like Traverse City pilot Scott Conaway steps in.

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Offbeat
11:39 am
Thu September 13, 2012

VIDEO: An 'apex hunter' rides to the rescue in Asian carp battle

A Carp Hunter in action near Peoria, IL.
YouTube

Shark Week, schmark week.

It's Asian Carp Week here at Michigan Radio!

All week long, The Environment Report has been bringing us stories about Asian Carp & the Great Lakes.

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Lessons from Isle Royale
2:46 pm
Wed June 6, 2012

Messages from Shelter #10 on Isle Royale

A message from a visitor in shelter #10 on Isle Royale.
Mark Brush Michigan Radio

When you camp on Isle Royale, you don't necessarily have to sleep in tents.

You can sleep in a "camping shelter," which is basically an elevated, screened-in, wooden structure.

It can protect you from the elements and the bugs.

And based on our experience, it seems people have had some time on their hands waiting out storms in these shelters.

Park visitors have left messages on the walls - something we humans love to do - even long before we had Facebook walls to write on.

We were expecting profane, but we found inspiring, humorous, artistic, and messages describing their experiences while on Isle Royale. (O.k., there was a little profanity here and there. It is graffiti, after all.)

To see the messages, take a look at the slideshow above.

Some of our favorites:

  • "45 miles 8 days all w/diabetes! 2010"
  • A diagram showing you where to "BANG HEAD." It was surprisingly accurate. I hit my head on that low beam 5 or 6 times.
  • "Flight over for 3 - $625.00 - Gear and food - $300.00 - Spending my 50th birthday hiking with my daughter and son - priceless (50 miles) - JMR 8/2007"
  • "...My girlfriend says everything is my fault (it is)..."
  • "...Lots of rain, no bugs, probably going to have tapeworm. LIVING THE DREAM!"
  • "we came, we saw, we got eaten by giant, rabid, mutant squirrels! Help..."

Write on our walls! Tell us about your camping experiences around Michigan. The good. The bad. The unforgettable.

Offbeat
4:19 pm
Tue May 8, 2012

Michigan teen from Ishpeming makes prom dress out of Starburst wrappers

Ishpeming teen Diane McNease's Starburst prom dress.
WLUC-TV YouTube

I remember making little chains out of Starburst wrappers when I was a kid, but building an entire garment with them?

That's what Diane McNease of Ishpeming High School has done.

WLUC-TV produced a short piece on McNease and her dress. Here it is (I like the host's reaction to the lead of the story):

McNease definitely has some artistic flair. She said she strung wrappers in the dress below the corset to "give the illusion that the dress is, kind of like, falling apart."

She said friends donated around 18,000 wrappers for the corset, matching hair bands, and purse. It took her around 5 months to make.

More evidence that young kids today are far from slackers. We stopped after stringing 10 Starburst wrappers together.

Offbeat
10:39 am
Fri April 27, 2012

Michigan superhero "Bee Sting" arrested, other Michigan superheroes named

BeeSting's identity will be revealed at an arraignment expected this afternoon.
screen grab michiganprotectors.weebly.com/members.html

Another Michigan superhero has drawn the attention of local police.

Just as Petoskey Batman is wrapping up his probation, Bee Sting turns up in Burton, Michigan with a little shotgun mishap.

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Offbeat
11:44 am
Mon April 16, 2012

Do we really need foam and lycra baby helmets?

The "Thudguard" helmet in action.
user chkpnt YouTube

These helmets are not for kids with medical conditions, but for your run-of-the-mill little snappers who take a dive every now and again.

Sue Toms on MLive asks whether these helmets are necessary on their "Question of the day."

I can’t help but feel sorry for parents of small children trying to figure out how much to protect and how much to let go in a world where their fears are fodder for profit-making marketing campaigns.

Do infants need 3.2 ounces of foam and Lycra, with little bunny ears, strapped on their heads as they crawl or walk in their living room? The doctors, paramedics and psychiatrists endorsing the product on the website say they do.

But watching a YouTube video of a toddler cruising along a coffee table wearing a Thudguard on his head is a little unnerving...

Here's the video... complete with a close call with a sandal.

Too much?

Offbeat
11:08 am
Mon April 16, 2012

Michigan pair lose appeal in John Stamos extortion

John Stamos. A Michigan pair tried to blackmail the actor.
user hyku wikimedia commons

MARQUETTE, Mich. (AP) - A federal appeals court has upheld the convictions of a man and woman from Michigan's Upper Peninsula who were accused of trying to blackmail actor John Stamos.

A three-judge panel in Cincinnati rejected challenges to the indictment Monday as well as claims that Allison Coss and Scott Sippola should have received a break at sentencing for accepting responsibility.

They were sentenced to four years in prison in 2010 after a jury convicted them of conspiracy and using email to threaten a person's reputation. Coss and Sippola threatened to sell old photos of Stamos with strippers and cocaine to the tabloids unless he paid $680,000. The FBI said the photos didn't exist.

Stamos met Coss in Florida in 2004 and had a friendship.

Offbeat
3:08 pm
Mon April 9, 2012

"Petoskey Batman" hanging it up, plans to auction off suit

Mark Williams as Batman. The infamous suit went to the highest bidder.
Courtesy of the Petoskey, Michigan Department of Public Safety.

It all started last year.

That's when police in Petoskey turned on their caped crusader - "Petoskey Batman."

From UPI:

A Michigan man nicknamed the "Petoskey Batman" after he was arrested while wearing a Batman costume on a rooftop was sentenced to six months of probation.

Mark Wayne Williams, 32, of Harbor Springs, was arrested May 11 after being spotted on a Petoskey rooftop while wearing a Batman costume and carrying weapons including a baton-like striking weapon, a can of chemical irritant spray and a pair of sand-filled Sap gloves.

This raises two questions. What in the world are "sand-filled Sap gloves"? And what was the plan for them?

Last October, a judge sentenced Williams to six months of probation. He was banned from donning his bat-suit for the duration of his probation.

Now we hear news that "Petoskey Batman" plans to hang up the suit permanently.

He's auctioning it off on E-Bay, with a starting bid set at $100. From the listing:

Well folks here's the deal my bud got himself in trouble last year hanging off a building(i'm sure you've all seen it on the news, we got a good chuckle here.) Seems "The Petoskey Batman" Needs some cash for his legal fees. So what were doing is Auctioning off the suit that was made famous round the world on the nightly news and most of the late night comics(gloves not included lol.) Will come with a signed statement and picture of him next to it, hell he'll even sign the picture for you.

p.s. It has been laundered lol
happy bidding folks
Shipping listed is for U.S. only Canada and International will be higher 

So far, there have been zero bids. But there are more than 2 days left. No word on yet on plans for, or the existence of, the Petoskey Batmobile. 

*Correction - a previous version used the phrase "begs the question" incorrectly. It's been corrected in the copy above.

Sports
5:09 pm
Wed March 14, 2012

Madness: A 192 foot basketball shot?

The longest basketball shot? How can we really know? YouTube
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Offbeat
4:02 pm
Mon January 30, 2012

Taking water recreation to new heights, introducing the 'Dolphinator'

Every summer, it seems there's some new water recreation device on the Great Lakes, I wonder if we'll see the "Dolphinator" anytime soon.

That's not what the inventor, Franky Zapata, calls it, that's what Robert Krulwich calls it on his blog "Krulwich Wonders":

I'm looking at this thing and thinking it should be renamed "The Dolphinator," because this is about as close as a human is ever going to get to flying in and out of the air and sea as dolphins do. In fact, it beats the dolphins.

Have a look:

I can't wait to spot one in action on the Lakes. I don't know how hard it would be to get your hands on one (Mr. Zapata's online store is down at the moment). But Krulwich writes that the "Dolphinator" (as it is now known here at Michigan Radio), costs $6,441.

And riding it is a snap... according Zapata:

"...the Flyboard is very intuitive : it’s like learning to walk. Find your balance and you will become Flying Man or Dolphin Man! Between 2 and 20 minutes are needed to learn with an instructor and 20 minutes/ 1 hour without." 

Sign me up.

Offbeat
11:38 am
Wed January 11, 2012

What flavor of ice cream best represents Michigan's outdoors?

Go to this page to suggest an ice cream flavor.
screen shot

The Hudsonville Creamery and Ice Cream Company want to create a new ice cream flavor... one that captures the spirit of the Michigan outdoors.

Here's more from the Hudsonville Creamery:

The Department of Natural Resources and Pure Michigan are partnering with Hudsonville Ice Cream to create a unique flavor that best represents all that Michigan State Parks and the great outdoors have to offer.

And it has to be appetizing, so "black fly" and "pine tar" are likely not good options.

You can suggest flavors on their page, or suggest them below.

I believe "Moosetracks," and "Bear Claw" are already taken.

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