Originally created 06/19/03

Odds and Ends



GRAND ISLAND, Neb. -- One member of the Hall County sheriff's department compiled quite a pedigree before hanging up the leash.

Police dog Ringo helped his handler seize 17 pounds of methamphetamine and more than $93,000 in drug money. He helped find 16 criminals, police said.

He liked to chase burglars, said his handler and partner, Sgt. Bryan Simonson.

The 12-year-old Belgian Malnois was deployed more than 500 times to assist 82 law enforcement agents from 10 different agencies, Sheriff Jerry Watson said.

Ringo retired Tuesday after serving the department for eight and a half years, which roughly translates to 60 human years.

Ringo showed a puppy's enthusiasm when he pounced on a stuffed burglar presented to him at his retirement ceremony.

Ringo doesn't have big plans for retirement other than moving in with Simonson.

"He's just going to be a dog," Simonson said. "To him, I'm dad. He doesn't know he was owned by the county."

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HERMISTON, Ore. -- Bob Malzahn has given himself two weeks to make a 1,705 mile-trip around the perimeter of Oregon. In a car, the journey would be a breeze - but Malzahn is riding a bicycle.

Malzahn, from Granger, Wash., said he hopes to cover at least 122 miles a day.

He already holds the Perimeter Bicycling Association of America's record for cycling the perimeter of Washington and Montana. He hopes to add Oregon and Idaho to his list by the end of this summer.

Malzahn has been cycling competitively for more than a dozen years.

He says the record he really wants is for cycling the perimeter of the United States. That now stands at 180 days and 12,000 miles. He hopes to make his attempt in about a year.

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DELAND, Fla. -- Visitors often compare downtown DeLand to Mayberry, the city made famous by "The Andy Griffith Show." Now they will look even more similar.

Volusia County Sheriff Ben Johnson, a fan of the show, is spending about $10,000 of seized drug money to purchase and restore a 1962 Ford Galaxie just like Andy and Barney used to drive.

But at least one County Council member and the president of a state tax watchdog organization questioned Johnson's decision to buy a "prop" in a tight budget year.

Johnson said he has talked about buying an old patrol car since taking office in 2000.

Sheriff's Office attorney John McConnell found the car for sale on the online auction site eBay a few weeks ago, offered $6,500 and had it shipped here for $600.

The car is undergoing minor repairs in a DeLand body shop. Later, the car will be repainted from Mayberry black and white to Volusia County green and white. The paint and body work is expected to cost about $2,000.

Johnson justifies the purchase as a crime-prevention tool, which he says is allowed under laws governing cash forfeiture use. He plans to show off the car in holiday parades, recruiting fairs and drug prevention programs for children.

"(Kids) will flock around it. It will get their attention," he said. "They're more interested in looking at something different and unusual than at looking at one of our new cars."

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VIRGINIA, Minn. -- This is hardly a lame duck.

A mallard swimming on Silver Lake isn't letting a dart in its head stop it from eating, swimming, socializing or paddling away from rescue attempts.

Authorities don't know who shot the duck with a metal blowgun dart, but the bird hasn't been unable to remove the shaft from its left cheek behind its bill.

Department of Natural Resources personnel tried without success Monday to capture the mallard, an agency spokeswoman said. The wound caused by the dart isn't infected, and the duck is swimming and eating, she said.

The Mesabi Humane Society has received several calls about the duck, said Mary Peliska, executive director, and animal control officers also have been checking on the duck.

"You just want to pull it out," she said of the dart. "You have to catch the duck first. They go fast."