Mar. 26 Only in America ...

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Arkansas jail holding 200 roosters as evidence

De QUEEN, Ark. (AP) — A group of inmates is tending to 200 roosters at an Arkansas sheriff’s office pending their use as evidence against 137 people arrested at a cockfight. Sheriff Robert Gentry said the birds would be held at his office until a court decides what to do with them. The Texarkana Gazette reported that several agencies raided a cockfight near De Queen March 17, tracking down an operation that moved every weekend. The sheriff said 34 people face felony counts of unlawful animal fighting and 86 face misdemeanor counts. Others arrested were spectators. Gentry said the suspects are from Arkansas, New Jersey, Oklahoma and Texas. It wasn’t known Friday if the inmates tending to the roosters are accused of staging the fights. Workers at a neighboring business said the birds were noisy.

Florida man reunites with pet cat lost 14 years ago

FORT PIERCE, Fla. (AP) — A Florida man has been reunited with a cat he lost 14 years ago. reports Perry Martin of Fort Pierce said he had assumed his orange tabby named Thomas Jr., or T2 for short, had died in traffic. Martin moved in with a friend after Hurricane Jeanne clobbered the state in 2004. A few days later, T2 escaped the home and never returned. Martin had T2 implanted with a microchip in 2002. He never had news of his missing pet until a Martin County Animal Services officer called him March 9 to tell him T2 was in a shelter in Palm City. Martin said he initially thought the call was “too crazy to believe.” The pair reunited last week at the Humane Society of the Treasure Coast.

District arms teachers with rocks in case of school shooter

ORWIGSBURG, Pa. (AP) — A rural school district in Pennsylvania is arming teachers and students with buckets of rocks in what the superintendent says would be a last resort should an armed intruder burst in. Blue Mountain School District Superintendent David Helsel says every classroom in the district about 90 miles northwest of Philadelphia has a 5-gallon bucket of river stones. He says the rocks are one small part of the district’s overall security plan. He says it is more effective than just crawling under desks, and gives students and teachers a chance to defend themselves. One student says he supports the plan, adding that throwing rocks is better than throwing books or pencils. Kenneth Trump, who owns a school security consulting firm, calls the idea irrational and says it could possibly cost lives.

Public defender hires man convicted in courthouse scam

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — One of the men sent to federal prison and ordered to pay millions of dollars in restitution for a courthouse corruption scandal that rocked New Mexico politics has been hired by the state Public Defender’s office. Chief Public Defender Bennett Baur is defending the hiring of Toby Martinez, former administrator of the Bernalillo County Metropolitan Courthouse. Baur says Martinez was the most qualified applicant for the paralegal position. Martinez and others were accused of bilking the state out of $4.2 million in the construction of the $83 million courthouse a decade ago. Martinez pleaded guilty to taking more than $2 million. He was released from prison in 2013. The general counsel for the New Mexico Attorney General’s Office is questioning the hiring.