Originally created 09/13/03

Odds and Ends



HOUSTON -- A former corrections officer at a boot camp has been ordered to scrub his way to redemption.

Manuel Vera was found guilty of misdemeanor official oppression for manhandling a probationer and plunging his head into a toilet. A judge ordered Vera to serve two years probation, pay a $1,000 fine and spend 10 weekends scrubbing toilets at Harris County's boot camp.

"It was an appropriate sentence," prosecutor Vic Wisner said.

Vera, 23, started working at the boot camp in March 2001 and resigned in December because he refused to undergo polygraph tests related to the accusations, Wisner said.

Vera's lawyer told jurors that probationers at the boot camp falsely accused his client after investigators threatened them with another stint in boot camp if they didn't file complaints.

Vera is appealing his conviction.

OSHKOSH, Wis. -- Four men vying to claim a record for the longest continuous drum roll spent 12 hours wielding their sticks.

Patrick Flanigan, Namiah Tribolin and Mark Powers, all of Oshkosh, and Peter Buxman of St. Paul, Minn., started drumming at 8 a.m. in the New Moon Coffee Co. shop downtown and finished at 8 p.m.

They said the effort topped the mark of 9 hours, 11 minutes, 1 second listed in the Guinness Book of Records. That time was accomplished March 26 by 11 students at Maple Street School in Contoocook, N.H.

Arrangements were made to have five people witness the entire 12 hours, and to videotape the attempt.

Each drummer drummed for 10 minutes at a time. A massage therapist was present to keep the drummers hands and wrists in shape.

The Guinness Book of Records still must verify the record before it can be listed.

WARREN, Pa. -- A contractor preparing to take down a building began removing vinyl siding and ended up discovering what could be one of Warren County's oldest buildings.

"I never gave it much thought. ... I looked in a cubbyhole and spotted these logs. I thought, 'What have we got here?' I started to tinker around and I saw it was all logs. It's worth something," said Ed Yaegle, who wants to build a house on the property.

While a deed search found the cabin on record as early as 1827, Rhonda Hoover, director of the Warren County Historical Society, said it could be even older because deeds before that time where recorded elsewhere.

Yaegle wants to donate the cabin to the city of Warren if the city will pay to move it. The city is looking into that possibility.

People from as far away as Arizona have expressed an interest in the 20-foot-by-30-foot cabin, but Yaegle said he'd like to see it stay in the northwestern Pennsylvania county.

Hoover said the cabin could be a tourist attraction.

ANCHORAGE -- What might be the largest Pacific halibut ever documented was pulled from the Bering Sea off St. Paul Island by the crew of the fishing boat Miss Mary.

The 8-foot, 2-inch behemoth was estimated at 533 pounds - based on its length, according to crewman Barry Davis of Anchorage. He provided photographs of the fish taken aboard the long liner skippered by his brother, Pat, from Seattle.

No official records are kept on the size of commercially caught halibut in Alaska, but the Alaska Department of Fish and Game's Wildlife Notebook Series says the "largest ever recorded for the Northern Pacific was a 495-pound fish caught near Petersburg."

The International Pacific Halibut Commission, which manages halibut in the North Pacific, pegs the largest fish at an estimated 500 pounds.

The fish caught on Sept. 5 was two inches longer, at 98 inches. It outweighs by almost 75 pounds the sport-fishing record, set by Jack Tragis of Fairbanks near Dutch Harbor in 1996. That halibut tipped the scales at 459 pounds.

The Alaska Fisheries Science Center of the National Marine Fisheries Service claims halibut grow to more than 600 pounds but there is no evidence of anyone ever having seen such a fish in the Pacific. In the Atlantic there are reports of 9-foot-long flatfish weighing 700 pounds.

The fish was eventually delivered to a processor, or most of it was delivered.

"We're going to get the tail mounted," Davis said. The tail alone measures 24 1/2 inches across.