HAGERSTOWN, Md. (AP) -- It's a tree that can reach out and touch someone. A tall pine in Hagerstown, Maryland, isn't sprouting cones but calls. Verizon Wireless has built a 150-foot cellphone tower disguised as a pine tree. It's the first such stealth tower the company has put up in the area. But a local paper (Herald-Mail) reports the tower is getting mixed reviews. County Historic District Commission Chairman Charles Stewart says "it looks kind of absurd." But Jim Stevens, who works near the tower, says it "blends in better."
WEIGHT LOSS CHAMPION
CLINTON, Mass. (AP) -- Brian Meifert doesn't mind if you call him a loser. He is -- and then some. Meifert has dropped half his body weight and is down to 240. The Massachusetts software engineer says he was motivated so he could be around for his kids. His healthy quest began in June of 2010. At 6-6 and 240, Meifert is still a big, but not a fat guy. He tells a local paper (Sentinel and Enterprise) his waist size has gone from 62-inches to 32.
RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) -- Party-on pooches! There was plenty of tail-wagging in Rio de Janeiro yesterday, as the four-legged set got in on the Carnival fun in Brazil. Hundreds of canines were decked out in everything from tutus to fairy wings, as part of a pre-Carnival parade. Talent agent Ariane Raballo had her mini Yorkies dressed as Carmen Miranda. She says they come every year. People were in costume, too. A couple of guys were dressed for the occasion, as giant ticks.
SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) -- It's a case for the poo police. About 200 pooches in the Sioux Falls, South Dakota, area are having their DNA tested. The animals and their owners are tenants of Midwest Property Services. A local paper (Argus Leader) reports a company called Poo Prints maintains the DNA database. Soon, owners who don't pick up after Rover will face a $100 charge from the landlord. And thanks to the DNA tests, the owners won't be able to blame someone else's four-legged buddy.
BOSTON (AP) -- Linda DeMarco finds herself in a twist -- and that's just the way she wants it. Her Boston Pretzel Bakery supplies a number of sports venus, including the home of the New England Patriots. She admits big pretzels may not be too exciting, but she says they're a pretty good staples. She tells The Patriot Ledger pretzels are also good bake-sale alternatives to cupcakes and cookies.
ROCHESTER POLAR PLUNGE
ROCHESTER, N.Y. (AP) -- It's the biggest snowstorm of the season. But that didn't stop nearly 1,600 people from sprinting into Lake Ontario, for the annual Polar Bear Plunge fundraiser in Rochester, New York. More than a foot of lake-effect snow piled up in area over the weekend. The Rochester Democrat and Chronicle reports yesterday's chilly plunge is expected to raise more than $200,000 for the Special Olympics.
Copyright 2012. The Associated Press.