”’Editor’s note: These stories, too wacky, wild or informative to go into cyber trash, are from the United Press International.”’

”Toe-Sucker Gets Life in Prison”

LAS ANGELES, Calif. (UPI) — A former Newport Beach youth recreation leader was sentenced to life in prison for sucking the toes of 20 young boys.

Trenton Michael Veches, 32, clutched a white handkerchief and sobbed as he was sentenced Friday to 20 concurrent life sentences for each count of child molestation, The Los Angeles Times reported Saturday.

Prosecutors sought 20 consecutive life sentences, which would have made Veches ineligible for parole.

Veches was arrested in April 2002 after a co-worker reported seeing him suck a child’s toes at the recreation center, the Times said.

Veches admitted to sucking the toes of 20 children, ranging in age from 6 to 10.

His trial defense was toe-sucking is not sexual.

His attorney called the behavior “a little weird and quirky” and “on the low end of the serious scale.”

Because of the concurrent sentences, Veches will be eligible for parole in 15 years.

”Horse Semen Suit Dismissed”

VERSAILLES, Ky. — A lawsuit filed against actor William Shatner over frozen horse semen has been dismissed.

Shatner’s second wife, Marcy Lafferty Shatner, filed the suit in April claiming he had breached provisions in their 1995 divorce settlement, the Lexington Herald-Leader reported.

The settlement gives Shatner the couple’s stallion, Great Day’s Came the Son, but gives his former wife one breeding privilege per calendar year.

The suit complained over the way the semen was delivered to Marcy Shatner, saying it was frozen instead of the “fresh cooled format,” the newspaper said.

Shatner’s attorney successfully argued for dismissal of the case, saying the divorce settlement did not contain any restriction on how the semen was to be delivered.

In addition, he said, the actor was never personally served with the suit, which is required by law, and the divorce settlement says any disputes would be resolved in L.A.

”Council Commends Sausage for its Bravery”

MILWAUKEE (UPI) — The National Hog Dog and Sausage Council recognized an Italian sausage Friday for its courage under fire during a Milwaukee baseball game.

The sausage, played by 19-year-old Milwaukee resident Mandy Block, took a blow Thursday in Miller Park during the race that is part of every home game.

Pittsburgh Pirates first baseman Randall Simon struck Guido on the head. Simon was arrested, charged with disorderly conduct and faces a $432 fine.

Despite the hit, the Italian sausage won the race.

The council said they take any attacks on hot dogs and sausages with the utmost seriousness. The recent violence against Guido was the “wurst” it had seen, they said.

So they awarded Guido a certificate of bravery and declared July 12 Italian Sausage Saturday.

”Burgers With Wi-Fi”

OAK BROOK, Ill. (UPI) — McDonald’s this week launched a project that puts high-speed Internet service at tables in 75 restaurants in the San Francisco Bay Area.

ComputerWorld says the idea is to see if Wi-Fi, wireless high fidelity for computers, attracts enough customers to make it a useful marketing tool.

McDonald’s plans to equip several hundred restaurants in the United Sates with Wi-Fi Internet connections by the end of the year.

The fast food restaurant chain is charring $4.95 for two hours of online access at its San Francisco restaurants, but customers who buy a meal may use the technology without charge.

”Obesity is linked with Alzheimer’s disease”

WASHINGTON, July 14 (UPI) — A new study released Monday shows overweight elderly people are more likely to suffer Alzheimer’s disease than thin people.

The research — by Deborah Gustafson, who conducted the study while at Utah State University — is the first strong evidence linking the increasing rate of obesity with the increasingly common brain affliction.

The Washington Post said that while previous studies raised the possibility that obesity might increase the risk of dementia, the new research shows those who are heavy at age 70 are markedly more likely to get Alzheimer’s in their eighties.

The findings add Alzheimer’s to the long list of serious ailments caused by being overweight and, perhaps, represent the most compelling reason to stay slim even into old age.

Although the study linked only women to the problem, Gustafson and that’s probably because there weren’t enough men in the study who lived long enough to get Alzheimer’s.

”New sensor detects biological threats”

BOSTON (UPI) — Scientists report development of a sensor that uses living cells to detect dangerous substances such as anthrax, E. coli and other biological threats.

The sensor, detailed in Friday’s issue of the journal Science, uses genetically engineered white blood cells to sniff out biohazards accurately and faster than any other technology in current use, the Boston Globe said.

“I wanted to use nature’s own method to detect bacteria and viruses,” said Todd Rider, a senior staff scientist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Lincoln Laboratory, a secretive facility in Lexington where the bulk of the work took place.

After six years of painstaking work, Rider and the team of scientists were able to modify living cells taken from a mouse to seek out specific pathogens and give off a warning light, thanks to a protein from a luminescent jellyfish.

The device they equipped with those cells was welcome news to public officials trying to improve the nation’s bioterrorism defenses.

”Beef producers win in court”

MINNEAPOLIS, (UPI) — A three-judge panel has ruled that beef producers cannot be forced to pay a $1-a-head fee to support beef promotional and educational efforts.

The 8th Circuit Court of Appeals panel upheld a lower court ruling that said the tariff amounted to a violation of beef producers’ right to free speech.

The judges declared that “the government’s interest in protecting the welfare of the beef industry by compelling all beef producers and importers to pay for generic advertising is not sufficiently substantial to justify the infringement of plaintiffs’ First Amendment free speech rights.”

The program develops advertising, like the slogan “Beef — It’s What’s For Dinner,” and handles safety and education efforts.

Wyoming industry officials say the ruling will not immediately strike down the fee, but will set up a showdown either before a full court or the U.S. Supreme Court.

”SUVs to be Ticketed”

ROCKVILLE, Md., (UPI) — Residents who drive SUVs in the Washington-Baltimore area may find a ticket under their windshield wiper blade this Saturday.

An environmental group, the Chesapeake Climate Action Network is “ticketing” 15,000 SUVs, demanding cleaner, less gas-hungry vehicles.

The Action Network is a coalition of 29 groups ranging from the Sierra Club to the Episcopal Diocese of Maryland.

More than 125 activists plan to participate in the ticketing campaign. The tickets will encourage SUV drivers to buy wind power to offset emissions and to write Detroit demanding cleaner, hybrid SUVs.

The “SUV Code Red Campaign” will be launched with a news conference on Friday, — the day before the ticketing blitz — at a Ford dealership in Rockville, Md.

”Jerry Springer to decide on Senate bid”

COLUMBUS, Ohio, (UPI) — Talk show host Jerry Springer has confirmed he plans to file papers with Ohio election officials to lay the groundwork for a possible Senate bid.

While the 59-year-old Springer has yet to make a formal announcement, the paperwork was necessary so the television talk show host could avoid problems raising cash before declaring his candidacy for the U.S. Senate, E! Online reported.

According to his political adviser, Mike Ford, Springer will make an official decision whether to launch a campaign by the end of this month.

Springer, former mayor of Cincinnati, has already started airing infomercials in other states to test the waters, build a support base, and raise the necessary funds to take on state Senator Eric Fingerhut, the leading Democratic challenger.

If Springer beats Fingerhut in the primary, he’ll go head-to-head with incumbent Republican Sen. George Voinovich.

Copyright 2003 by United Press International. All rights reserved.

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