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The Odd Truth, Dec. 6, 2003

The Odd Truth is a collection of strange but factual news stories from around the world compiled by's Brian Bernbaum. A new collection of stories is published each weekday. On weekends, you can read a week's worth of The Odd Truth.

Hair Flair

ALBANY, Ga. - A hair stylist was pumping gas into her car when her hair burst into flames.

"That scared me to death," said stylist Traci Marshall.

The fire was probably caused by static electricity from Marshall's hair rubbing against her clothes, said her husband, Camilla firefighter Lt. Bill Marshall.

The static electricity apparently mixed with gas fumes and ignited the fire Sunday.

"I started beating my hair to get out the fire and saw flames coming out of the gas tank," she said.

A man with a fire extinguisher put out the blaze.

Traci Marshall had to cut her hair and get her truck repaired.

Bill Marshall advised people to ground themselves before pumping gas by touching the metal of their cars.

"Once you get out of your vehicle, don't get back into the vehicle until you are through," he said.

Officials also remind people to turn off cell phones and pagers when pumping gas because those devices can also spark explosions.

Maybe Crime Does Pay ...

INDIANAPOLIS - A man convicted of providing illegal cable television hookups will become a spokesman for the cable company from which he stole.

Dennis Cheatem, of Indianapolis, has agreed to appear in infomercials for Bright House Networks to discuss the consequences of stealing cable, said Al Aldridge, a spokesman for the company.

Cheatem, 47, pleaded guilty Tuesday to one felony count of theft and was fined $10,000. The fine could be cut in half if he successfully completes one year in a minimum-security prison and performs community service, said Roger Rayl, a spokesman for the Marion County prosecutor's office.

Authorities said Cheatem, a licensed plumber, bought a used cable company repair van last year and posed as a Bright House employee. Prosecutors say Cheatem claimed to provide cable to needy families but instead pocketed the money in at least one case.

Cheatem was arrested in April after he approached an undercover officer with an offer of free cable.

McDonald's Manager Run Over Following Mayo Spat

HOUSTON, Texas - A woman who ran over a McDonald's manager after not getting mayo on her cheeseburger has been sentenced to ten years in prison.

Jurors in Houston convicted Waynetta Nolan of aggravated assault.

Prosecutors say on April 23rd Nolan ran over Sherry Allen Jenkins.

Nolan - who apologized for the incident - testified she thought she'd just rolled over "a bump."

The Houston Chronicle reports the incident began when an employee at the drive-thru window told Nolan that mayo wasn't an option on cheeseburgers.

Nolan became angry. She was then encouraged to pull her car around to the window counter and speak to the manager.

Jenkins called police when she couldn't satisfy the customer. The manager was run over when she walked out to the drive-thru line to get Nolan's license plate number.

Jenkins was later arrested at her home.

Let The Punishment Fit The Crime

AUBURN, Wash. - Two boys who fired BB's at a group of children and a teen in a wheelchair have been sentenced to spend two days sitting in a wheelchair at a mall.

A Juvenile Court judge in Washington state told the 12-year-olds to write a two-page report on the experience by December 15th.

The judge also sentenced the boys to 76 hours of community service. If they stay out of trouble for a year's probation, their record of seven felonies for assault will be wiped clean.

Police arrested the two last month after they fired a BB gun at children playing outside a day-care center in Auburn. The boys also hit a 14-year-old in a wheelchair twice before he took cover behind a bush.

They also chipped the windshield on a truck.

In court, the boys apologized to the shooting victims.

Pension Surprise

LOS ANGELES - A 92-year-old retired farm worker received nearly $77,000 in belated payments from a pension he never knew existed.

The money had languished since Francisco Martinez retired from his job as a field irrigator on a Salinas lettuce farm 17 years ago.

"I feel very good and very happy and very rich," Martinez said after receiving a check Thursday from the United Farm Workers at the Mexican Consulate in Los Angeles.

Martinez, who retired to the Mexican border city of Mexicali, will also receive monthly pension payments of nearly $1,680. He plans to put most of the windfall in a savings account for his family.

Martinez learned of the pension after two daughters who live in California saw news accounts of other union members getting pensions retroactively, said UFW President Arturo Rodriguez. He later went into a union office for the details.

The pension was created through the efforts of activist and UFW founder Cesar Chavez. In 1975, Martinez and other field laborers voted to unionize. An agreement the following year compelled his employer, California Coastal Farms, to contribute to a pension plan, Rodriguez said.

Martinez, who was born in Mexico and speaks little English, worked on the farm for 11 years. He said no one ever told him about the pension. Still, he praised the famous labor activist.

"Cesar Chavez was a really valiant person," Martinez said. "If it wasn't for the work he did I wouldn't be getting this money today."

Anti-Gay Mayor Disappears After Indictment

SAO PAULO, Brazil - A mayor in southern Brazil who signed a decree banning homosexuals from entering his town has been indicted under anti-discrimination laws, the state prosecutor handling the case said Wednesday.

"Mayor Elcio Berti stepped beyond any reasonable limit," prosecutor Agenor Salgado told The Associated Press. "If convicted, he could face two to four years in prison aside from losing his office."

Berti, mayor of the 10,000-population town of Bocaiuva do Sul, 250 miles south of Sao Paulo, signed a decree Monday "prohibiting the presence in this jurisdiction of members of the class known as homosexuals, who can bring no benefits whatsoever to the town."

A gay rights group called Dignity announced that it would mount protests outside the Bocaiuva do Sul city hall on Thursday.

Berti was unavailable for comment.

"The mayor has shut down city hall and disappeared," said Bocaiuva do Sul police officer Waldemar Mateus. "Even we don't know where he is."

Salgado said Berti's decree violated anti-discrimination clauses in Brazil's 1988 Constitution as well as local laws against discrimination and the abuse of administrative powers.

In a statement accompanying his decree, Berti wrote that his intention was "to put family interests first."

Elected in 2000, Berti has issued other decrees that were later knocked down by courts. One decree banned the sale of condoms in the town, while another prohibited the sale of cigarettes.

Forget Disneyland ...

SINGAPORE - A factory that turns sewage into drinking water is being promoted as Singapore's latest tourist attraction, local media reported Friday.

The government launched an aggressive campaign last year to prepare Singaporeans for waste water that is processed so that it is again clean enough to drink, a product dubbed "Newater."

This February, the country started replenishing about 1 percent of its total daily water consumption with the reclaimed waste water.

Keen to share its Newater success with the rest of the world, Singapore's Public Utilities Board has printed glossy brochures about the Newater plant, which will be distributed at hotels, tour agencies and other tourist attractions, the Straits Times daily said.

The utility board was not immediately available for comment.

This resource-scarce city-state now buys more than half of its water from neighboring Malaysia under decades-old treaties, which start expiring in 2011. The water trade has sparked occasional spats between the two nations over pricing and other issues.

The government hopes that Newater will help Singapore eventually become self-sufficient when it comes to water.

Tourists are not shown the actual process of sewage being transformed into Newater, but they do get to take home a freshly produced bottle, the Straits Times said.

Where's The Snake?

HONG KONG - There's no snake in the soup in Hong Kong this winter. Restaurants report they're missing the main ingredient for one of their most popular dishes. The snake supply dried up last year during the SARS outbreak. China cut off the snakes when there was concern the deadly disease might have originated in wildlife. Snakes have since been let off the scientific hook. But Chinese officials haven't permitted the resumption of exports. Hong Kong snake traders say the only ones they have are last year's frozen leftovers and less desirable Southeast Asian snakes. Snake soup lovers claim the delicacy wards off colds and is an aphrodisiac.

No More Monkeys Jumping On The Bed ...

LOPBURI, Thailand - At least seven patients crowded the hospital room. Four with respiratory diseases were on the same examination table, out cold from anesthesia. Another had survived a fall from a building, and one more - hit by a car - had a broken leg.

It was a busy day at Thailand's first monkey hospital, which opened Wednesday in Lopburi, 70 miles north of Bangkok.

The 2,000 monkeys roaming free in central Lopburi are the city's main tourist attraction. A feast held for them each November brings thousands of visitors.

Treating monkeys is hard work, said Dr. Somsak Naksomboon, a veterinarian who works at the hospital.

"If you work with wild animals, you have to anesthetize them," he said. "Plus, they're harder to catch than your regular domesticated pets."

Medics who try to take the sick and injured animals to the doctor are treated like kidnappers by the monkeys.

"We have to be quick, because hundreds will rush in to bite you to protect their pack," Somsak said.

The 8,440-square-foot monkey hospital, located at the Lopburi Zoo, has operating, examination, treatment and admittance rooms. The $45,000 center was built with loans and donations from animal lovers.

Respiratory problems are common among monkeys when seasons change, Somsak said. Winter has arrived in tropical Thailand, and temperatures can drop to about 59 degrees at night.

Four big monkeys, suffering from colds, had to be put on intravenous drips because they hadn't eaten in days. They also had to be anesthetized, or they'd pull out their IV needles.

Coincidence Or Poetic Justice?

TUCSON, Ariz. - Call it a case of bad karma.

A man who stole a Salvation Army donation pot outside a drug store was hit by a car as he tried to run away, police said.

Edward Sanders, 40, grabbed the pot Tuesday and pulled it away after a short struggle with volunteer Patricia Parra, a 60-year-old woman who suffers from cerebral palsy, said South Tucson police Sgt. Dan Snyder.

As Sanders started to run away, he was struck by a Honda sedan and police captured him.

The red pot and the $53.97 inside were returned to the Salvation Army, Snyder said.

"I think God has a poetic sense of justice," he said.

Sanders, treated at University Medical Center, was arrested on suspicion of robbery and criminal damage.

No Santa Claus Clause

MIRAMAR, Fla. - Mrs. Jolly thinks her son's teacher is a Grinch.

Sandra Jolly said her 6-year-old son's Christmas was spoiled when his teacher told the first-grade class Monday that "Santa Claus is make-believe."

"He had this sad, lost puppy dog look on his face. This unhappy, empty look," Jolly said. "He said his teacher informed the entire class that Santa is make-believe."

D.J.'s teacher, Geneta Codner, was reading a story about the Tooth Fairy when the class started discussing what was real and what was not, said district spokesman Joe Donzelli.

When the subject of Santa came up, the teacher started questioning parts of his story - How could a fat jolly man fit down a chimney? How could reindeer fly around the world in one night? - and told the children that wasn't possible.

"It's all been blown out of proportion," Codner said. "I'm sorry (parents) think I meant it that way. We were just having a discussion. I don't know where all this hurt came from."

The teacher said none of the children acted upset or sad during class.

But Jolly and others disagree.

"How do you destroy a 6-year-old like that?" said Pam Sturt, whose son Bradley is in D.J.'s class.

Donzelli said the school's principal "had a real stern conversation" with the teacher. But there will be no written reprimand because she did not violate any school district policy.

"We have no Santa clause," Donzelli said. "We would think that teachers would use better judgment."

Bad Sex In Fiction Award

LONDON - A steamy bit of writing featuring engine oil, Bugattis and Volkswagens won the dubious honor of the Literary Review's "Bad Sex in Fiction" award Wednesday.

Judges said Indian writer Aniruddha Bahal's novel, "Bunker 13," merged the styles of Andy McNab, a British writer who specializes in special forces yarns, and Jilly Cooper, mistress of the horse and horseplay novel.

"Bunker 13" was described as a thriller about a reporter going undercover to expose evildoing in Kashmir.

The award-winning sex scene involved a woman dropping her trousers to expose a strategically placed swastika, and the judge saluted the "exuberance and energy" of the writing. A sample:

"Your RPM is hitting a new high. To wait any longer would be to lose prime time...

"She picks up a Bugatti's momentum. You want her more at a Volkswagen's steady trot. Squeeze the maximum mileage out of your gallon of gas. But she's eating up the road with all cylinders blazing. You lift her out. You want to try different kinds of fusion."

Sour Grapes

DAVIE, Fla. - A woman upset at being refused the sale of wine at a gas station rammed her car into a pump, setting it ablaze, police said.

Debra Ann Marren, 43, tried to buy some cheap fortified wine, but the Citgo clerk told her he couldn't sell it to her since it was illegal to sell alcohol between 2 a.m. and 6 a.m., according to Davie Police.

"She became irate and started screaming at the clerk, but he held his ground," Lt. Bill Bamford said Tuesday.

Marren then jumped in her car, reversed into the pump, and fled with the pump on fire, Bamford said.

Police received another call about a woman arguing with a man, and officers found Marren and a car matching the description of the one at the Citgo station.

No information on what Marren was charged with, or whether she had an attorney was immediately available.

Woman Jailed For IQ Fraud

BROOMFIELD, Colo. - A woman who faked test scores to pose her son as one of the most gifted children in the world has been sentenced to four days in jail for fraud.

Elizabeth Chapman, 31, was convicted of a misdemeanor charge of second-degree forgery Tuesday for providing the Broomfield Department of Human Services with bogus IQ test results from when her son Justin was 3.

Chapman admitted fabricating most of her son's achievements, including a perfect 800 score on the math section of the SAT.

The boy, now 10, was placed in foster care after his mother took him to a hospital last year for what she feared was a suicide attempt. They were reunited in February.

'Attention Wal-Mart Jurors ...'

GOLDSBORO, N.C. - The Wayne County sheriff says his deputies had a hard time finding what they were looking for in the aisles filled with holiday shoppers at Wal-Mart.

Not gifts - jurors.

Judge Ripley Eagles Rand ordered deputies Wednesday to go to the department store after he failed to find enough possible jurors for a murder trial set to begin Monday. About half of the 150 jurors summoned for the case were excused or had their duty deferred, a court clerk said.

But Sheriff Carey Winders says the search forced his officers into confrontations with people shopping for Christmas gifts.

Some shoppers were upset by questioning Wednesday, a day before Thanksgiving, he said. Some were rude, but the deputies were instructed to be cordial and apologetic.

"They were raising Cain with my officers and don't understand why they have to (serve)," Winders said.

The officers found 50 possible jurors Wednesday.

Glow-In-The-Dark Pets

SACRAMENTO - Starting next month, the nation's first genetically altered household pet - a fish - will start appearing in stores, except in California.

The "GloFish" is altered to glow in the dark, but environmental and public interest groups call it "Frankenfish." They oppose an exemption to the state's ban on lab-engineered species.

State wildlife officials say the Florida-grown Zebra fish poses no danger. Officials say the fish, which scientists turned green or red by inserting genes from other species, are less tolerant of cold water and would probably die if they escaped.

Some environmentalists fear some might survive and establish themselves. They also fear the GloFish could open the door to other genetically engineered species.

Primates Get Pampered

DENVER - The Denver Zoo's four orangutans are smelling pretty good these days - they're getting daily aromatherapy treatments.

That means the 20-year-old ape Mias gets chamomile on his right ear, basil and angelica on his nose, and fennel, eucalyptus and frankincense on his forehead.

Keepers says the treatment has helped alleviate symptoms from allergies and an upset stomach.

In Allie's case, the 8-year-old primate became depressed when her mother died two years ago. She stopped acting like the silly adolescent she was before her mother's death, but that changed when she started receiving daily aromatherapy.

"When you see how goofy they are, this is how it should be," keeper Rhonda Pietsch said as Allie played in her cage after an oil treatment.

Practitioners of aromatherapy say their oils extracted from plants promote physical, spiritual and emotional health.

The Denver Zoo is believed to be one of the first to try it out on animals.

One-Night Prison Sentence, 15-Year Commitment

WEST PALM BEACH, FL - A man responsible for the death of his friend in a drunken driving accident will avoid prison time by giving speeches to teens for the next 15 years.

The prosecutor and a Florida judge agreed to the plea deal.

Billy Negron was celebrating his 21st birthday in April and was only a few minutes from his home near Boca Raton when he lost control of his car and crashed. His 17-year-old friend, Dominic Bolton, died at the scene.

Negron had a blood-alcohol level of point-one-three percent.

As part of the plea deal, Negron must spend his birthday night - the anniversary of the crash - in jail. He will pay $2,500 hundred dollars and help produce a video for a new drunken-driving prevention program. He also will speak to teens about the dangers of drunken driving over the course of his 15-year probation.

It's A Tough Job ...

ONTARIO, Canada - Ever wonder what your government is up to some days?

Well inspectors with Ontario's Ministry of Consumer and Business Services seemed obsessed with keeping close tabs on porno movies.

Ontario's auditor says the inspectors did nearly 1,600 inspections on adult video stores last year, even though they received just eight complaints.

But the inspectors weren't as interested in the 4,000 complaints about bill collectors - they only followed up on 10 of those.

Spider Surprise

BOSTON - It's scary to find poisonous black widow spiders on store-bought grapes. But food safety specialists and growers say it's less frightening than the alternative, which is a return to harsher pesticides.

At least three people have found black widow spiders on bunches of red seedless grapes from California purchased recently at suburban Boston supermarkets.

Grape growers and grocers say their efforts to use fewer or softer chemicals are to blame for more bugs reaching consumers. But food safety experts say an occasional beetle or weevil or spider is a reasonable price to pay for safer foods.

Texas A&M biology and chemistry Chairman Dan Mott says he doesn't think changes in pesticides would do much about the black widows.

Mott, who also edits the Journal of Arachnology, says he'd hate to think pesticide-reduction efforts would be discouraged because of the spiders. He says, "Black widows just aren't a problem for us, generally."

Tis The Season!

ORANGE CITY, Fla. - A mob of shoppers rushing for a sale on DVD players trampled the first woman in line and knocked her unconscious as they scrambled for the shelves at a discount department store.

Patricia VanLester had her eye on a $29 DVD player at a Wal-Mart SuperCenter, but when the siren blared at 6 a.m. Friday announcing the start to the post-Thanksgiving sale, the 41-year-old was knocked to the ground by the frenzy of shoppers behind her.

"She got pushed down, and they walked over her like a herd of elephants," said VanLester's sister, Linda Ellzey. "I told them, `Stop stepping on my sister! She's on the ground!"'

Ellzey said some shoppers tried to help VanLester, and one employee helped Ellzey reach her sister, but most people just continued their rush for deals.

"All they cared about was a stupid DVD player," she said Saturday.

Paramedics called to the store found VanLester unconscious on top of a DVD player, surrounded by shoppers seemingly oblivious to her, said Mark O'Keefe, a spokesman for EVAC Ambulance.

She was flown to a hospital, where doctors said she had a seizure after she was knocked down and would likely remain hospitalized through the weekend, Ellzey said.

"She's all black and blue," Ellzey said. "Patty doesn't remember anything. She still can't believe it all happened."

Ellzey said Wal-Mart officials called later Friday to ask about her sister, and the store apologized and offered to put a DVD player on hold for her.

Castration Thwarted

SANTA FE, N.M. - A woman was convicted of kidnapping for planning an attack in which four of her friends assaulted and attempted to castrate her ex-boyfriend.

Melissa French, 27, was convicted Wednesday and faces at least 18 years in prison - more than any of the attackers, all of whom accepted plea deals with prosecutors.

The men attacked Donald Hamilton at his Santa Fe home in June 2002. A assault rifle was placed in Hamilton's mouth and later fired between his legs, and the word "narc" was carved into his forehead with a pocketknife. He suffered separated shoulders, stab wounds and broken bones.

French was acquitted of kidnapping Hamilton, but convicted of kidnapping his roommate, who was held down during the attack.

French's attorney, Stephen Aarons, said French had turned down a plea deal that carried a minimum four-year prison sentence.

Prosecutors said French told the attackers - including her ex-husband, Haley G. French - that Hamilton had burglarized Haley French's home.

After showing the men where Hamilton lived, Melissa French was dropped off at a convenience store while Hamilton was attacked, prosecutor Linda Lonsdale said.

Cold Case: Auto Theft Unit

NEW YORK - Auto thieves be warned: New York police won't give up the chase - even if it takes 20 years.

On Monday, police said they arrested Scott Kenny, 46, in connection with the May 1983 theft of an automobile.

Twenty years ago, the 1968 Mercury Cougar was reported stolen from a home. Fast-forward two decades to Nov. 19, 2003, when a Newsday ad appeared advertising the car.

A retired New York City police sergeant saw the ad and went to check the auto out, taking pictures to send to a retired detective who's a Mercury Cougar enthusiast.

The retired detective saw the car's vehicle identification number in one of the photos and matched it to the registration of a car he once lost to auto thieves 20 years ago: a 1968 Mercury Cougar.

City police do not close auto theft cases until the cars are recovered, so Kenny, who said he got the car from a family member, was arrested when police were notified.

"The statute of limitations is up on grand larceny," said Officer Jennara Everleth, a police spokeswoman. She said all Kenny can be charged with is criminal possession of stolen property.

Everleth said the car is sitting at a pound, waiting for its original owner, and is still in good condition, though it might need a paint job.

Black Cat Banned From Halls

JERUSALEM - An Israeli cat has been banned from circulating freely in the stairwell of a suburban Tel Aviv apartment building, apparently because its black color was frightening the residents.

Kooshi, a 7-year-old mixed breed shorthair, has a midnight black coat and green sparkling eyes.

Its owners were told by municipal veterinarian Jonathan Even-Zor of Rishon Letzion they had to cradle the cat when descending the building's staircase - or risk having it impounded.

"This is a black cat that on its way downstairs occasionally passes through the legs of building residents, some of whom are afraid of the cat, quite possibly because of its black color," Even-Zor wrote to Dan and Ariel Morganstern.

"Even if this reaction is based on superstition, people who are afraid of the cat should not be forced to encounter it on the stairwell, particularly when the area is not illuminated," the letter said. It ordered the couple to carry the cat when walking down the stairs.

The Morgansterns, owners of four cats, objected to the order and engaged the services of Asaf Marx, a lawyer with Israel's Cat Welfare Society.

Marx, an expert in Israeli animal-rights law, wrote to Even-Zor, threatening to go to court if the order against Kooshi is not rescinded.

"The city of Rishon Letzion doesn't have a leg to stand on," he said. "A veterinarian can issue an order like this only if an animal constitutes a threat to public health or to public order. Kooshi is clean, he's been vaccinated and neutered, and is extremely well mannered. He's being singled out only because of his color."

Sara Novestern, a spokeswoman for the city government, said the order had nothing to do with Kooshi's color.

Riva Mayer of the Cat Welfare Society said fear of black cats is pervasive in Israel.

'I Brake For Terrorism And War'?

ATLANTA - A man who slapped a bumper sticker referring to terrorism and war on the side of a plane caused a four-hour delay for a domestic flight.

The man pasted the sticker on the door as a practical joke while boarding an Atlanta-to-San Francisco flight Sunday, AirTran Airways spokesman Tad Hutcheson said.

A ground crew worker noticed the sticker after all passengers were on board. The captain was notified by radio and decided not to take off. All 162 people on the plane had to get off and go through a second security screening.

Authorities would not describe the sticker other than to say that it was about terrorism and war.

Hutcheson said the prankster was discovered by security screeners. He was not charged with a crime - nor was he identified by the airline - and was allowed to continue on to San Francisco.

Toll Booth Ruins Spending Spree

PHILADELPHIA - With a little spare change, Guillermo Martinez could have kept running from the law. The Philadelphia man is accused of tapping into his company's bank account and using some of the money to take a pair strippers to Miami. But Martinez ran out of luck and quarters at a toll plaza near Annapolis, Maryland. He put his real name on a form that would have allowed him to pay later by mail. A clerk ran a check and found Martinez on a wanted list. He was arrested the day before Thanksgiving and has been brought back to Pennsylvania. Authorities alleged he used a debit card to steal about $150,000 from the nursing home company where he worked.

Lap It Up, Snobby Dogs

CANBERRA, Australia - Plain old water may no longer be good enough for pampered dogs, now that they have the choice of the bottled stuff in flavors like chicken and corn, liver and bacon, or beef.

Australian Andrew Larkey launched the purified Dog Plus K-9 water Tuesday, which sells for a little more $2 a bottle.

"It's like a sports drink for dogs," Larkey said. "Dogs get bored with plain water - they deserve variety just as much as people."

Larkey plans a similar line of drinks for cats, in roast chicken and pork flavors early next year.

People can safely drink it as well, he said, but it probably won't be a hit with humans.

"I've actually developed a bit of a taste for it myself, but I think most people's first reaction is to be a little suspicious," he said.

Doggone? Not Anymore!

WICHITA, Kan. - Jeanie Flores did a double-take when she glanced out the window of her home last week. A dog outside looked like Bear, the family pet who disappeared in November 1997.

"Oh my God. I think that's my dog!" she thought to herself.

She called the dog's name. When he responded, she started bawling.

"I called my husband and said, 'I really think this is Bear,'" she said.

Frank Flores rushed home and within seconds agreed with his wife's assessment: Bear, the brindle-colored Lab and chow mix, was home.

The dog's whereabouts for the past six years and his surprise return two days before Thanksgiving remain a mystery.

Frank Flores said he wishes Bear could talk.

Penny Pincher

REEDSVILLE, Pa. - After four decades of pinching pennies, a Mifflin County man decided that it was time to cash in his collection — over a million coins.

It took several months of bank visits to bring in 37 buckets of pennies to be cashed but, by the end, Lynn Wagner ended up with $10,060.

"I thought that it'd be interesting to have a million of these so I thought that I'd try," he said last week.

Wagner, 53, collected one million pennies in August. The pennies were stacked along a wall in Wagner's garage in 4 1/2-gallon buckets. "I can get 30,000 of them in one bucket if I shake it so that they settle to the bottom," he said.

Bubba Bubba Bubba

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. - Bubba is now officially Mr. Bubba.

Raymond Allen Gray Jr. has always been called Bubba, so he's legally changed his name. The Springfield, Illinois, man says he considered Bubba Gray. But he decided to go with Bubba Bubba Bubba — first name, middle and last. Bubba says the judge had a funny look on her face, but she made the change legal. Bubba now has a new driver's license and a work ID with the triple Bubbas.

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