Thursday, November 20, 2008

Nigerian E-Mail Scheme Bilks Oregon Woman of $400,000

An Oregon woman fell for the well-known Nigerian email scheme, which defrauded her of $400,000. She doesn't feel that she was an easy mark, and because the email identified a long-lost relative, she thought everything was on the up and up.

Sweet Home, OR - We've all heard of them or at least knew someone who has received an email from an individual in Nigeria claiming that there were funds from a now-deceased relative waiting to be dispersed to them or some variation of that theme and that help was needed to get the money out of the country. Most of us simply hit delete, but Janella Spears told AP that it only made her became more curious.

The particular email that she received stated that "if" she helped this long-lost relative, her grandfather "J.B. Spears", she would then be entitled to $20. million. "That's what got me to believe it," She said. "So, why wouldn't you send over $100?" Spears sent the first $100 through an untraceable wire service as directed by the scammers. But that wasn't enough, and the scammers continued asking for more money over the next two years with the promise of the multimillion dollar pay-off, provided she sent the amounts asked for. She mortgaged her home, took out a lien against the car, and even tapped into her husband's retirement fund.

As AP reports:
Her family and bank officials told her it was all a scam, she said, and begged her to stop, but she persisted because she became obsessed with getting paid.For all her efforts, she was sent official-looking documents, supposedly from the Bank of Nigeria and the United Nations. The scammers assured her that President Bush and the Director of the FBI were involved, claiming that her money was "guaranteed." And as you can guess, it wasn't. Now Spears is saddled with debt that is going to take two years to clear up. Her husband's retirement fund was to have been for "cruising and going around and seeing America — is pretty much gone for him right now," she said.

The lesson she learned was costly. Spears said:"The hope is [other people] are not going to fall as hard as I fell."

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Plans To Eradicate Milfoil With Renovate In Lakes Being Considered

**The Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) is considering using Renovate, a chemical designed for European milfoil, to kill the invasive seaweed. Although the DEC says that it should control the milfoil, but not completely eradicate it.
**Bath, NY - Between two of the Finger Lakes, Keuka and Seneca, lies two smaller lakes, Lamoka and Waneta, where many people, live, vacation, boat, fish and swim. But with the lake's usage, came unwanted invasive species of plants, namely European milfoil.
**European milfoil has clogged these lakes every year, becoming a danger to both boaters and swimmers. The Lamoka-Waneta Lakes Association vice-president, Dennis Fagan, told Steuben County officials Monday that plans were again being considered to eradicate the non-native weed this year. The Department of Environmental Conservation is considering the use of a chemical called "Renovate" (pdf) to kill the weed.
**In 2003, the herbicide SONAR (pdf) was used, and it took 59 days to kill the weed, but there was a problem. SONAR did not dissipate. Instead,

“It stayed in the lake and eradicated all the weeds, even the native plants,”
Fagan said. “The (state Department of Environmental Conservation) guys were very

**The following year, Lamoka was slated to get the same treatment, but it never happened. Since 2003, however, all but two of the 17 native plants have reappeared in Waneta Lake, along with the milfoil. Already this year, the milfoil is growing rapidly at certain points in the lakes.
It's believed that Renovate should take less time to rid the lakes of most of the milfoil in about 3 days. However, there are a few issues that will be dealt with.
**The first is that there's the fact that with the lakes being treated, the

"water will exceed the EPA’s guidelines for drinking water for a short period of
time. The level only affects six cottages and the association has offered to buy
bottled water for any residents while the lakes are monitored," Fagan said.

**Secondly, DEC official John Cole says that there are also 5,000-feet setbacks required from any area that could be a source for drinking water. But it should not stop people from swimming in the two lakes.

“They should all be good to go within a week.”

**So far there has only been one complaint about this during a public comment period. That period will end April 21. The association is hosting a DEC open house from 6-9 p.m. Wednesday at the Tyrone Town Hall, where people can browse through available information and ask questions about the plan.
**Fagan told the committee there have been few objections to the treatment, but predicted there will be complaints
“from the tree-hugger types.”
**The total cost of this treatment will be $600,000 for the next two years, and will be paid for through special water district taxes, state funds and reserve funds set up by Steuben and Schuyler counties. A small portion of Lamoka Lake lies in Steuben County, which contributes $16,000 annually in the reserve.

Navy Ship being Built In Honor Of NY War Hero

Friday, the family of Marine Cpl. Jason L. Dunham took part in the "keel-laying ceremony" which begins the construction of a Navy ship that's being built and will be named after their son. Jason Dunham of Scio, NY, was 22 when he died in Iraq in 2004.

Maine - Marine Cpl. Jason L. Dunham died as the result of trying to save his fellow Marines' lives, by throwing his helmet over a grenade. He sustained injuries on that fateful April 14, 2004. Two years later, President Bush awarded Marine Cpl. Jason L. Dunham the Medal of Honor.

That medal was "the first Medal of Honor — the nation’s highest award for
battlefield heroism — bestowed on a Marine in the Iraq war and the first earned
for combat action since 1970, during the Vietnam War."

Dunham was assigned to of the 3rd Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, I Marine Expeditionary Force, at Twentynine Palms, California. The 22-year old machine gunner was manning a checkpoint near Karabilah, which is near the Syrian border. He was attacked by an Iraqi man by the throat, and after they scuffled, the Iraqi dropped a live grenade. Dunham quickly jumped on it, using his Kevlar helmet and body to smother the blast.

Shrapnel pierced his skull, and he died eight days later with his parents at his
side at the National Naval Medical Center, Bethesda, Md.Since...his family has a website that is in his honor, which
to say the least is very moving.

Now, four years later, a Navy ship is being built and will carry his name. Jason's father says it means a lot to the family to know the ship will be sailing the oceans for decades, carrying on Jason's memory.

Rest well, Marine Cpl. Jason L. Dunham. Rest well.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Gorillas Killed By Ranger Hired To Protect Them

The Virunga National Park, is home to a bit more than half of the world's last 700 mountain gorillas. Here, a senior park official has been arrested due to claims that he organized the killing of ten rare mountain gorillas in 2007.

Democratic Republic of Congo- Honore Mashagiro has been charged by the Congolese Nature Conservation Institute (ICCN), which he was a member of, for ordering and allowing the killing of ten of these rare gorillas in 2007.

The Virunga National Park is one of the Unesco world heritage sites.

Each World Heritage Site is the property of the country on whose territory the
site is located, but it is considered in the interest of the international
community to preserve each site for future generations of humanity. The
protection and conservation of these sites are a concern of all the World
Heritage countries.
Unfortunately, the park is located in an area where rebels have set up base making it a volatile region.

Reports say that there are six other foresters that may be questioned, as to their own roles in trapping and slaughtering the animals on the alleged orders of Mr Mashagiro. Conservationists called the killings "executions". The gorillas' bodies were left where they fell. They feel that if it had been poachers killing the gorillas, they would have taken the carcasses and sold them as food or trophies. There is some thought that the killing of the gorillas is tied to mining and trafficking of a coal-like mineral called makala. The gorillas may have been killed to create a diversion. Wildlife Direct, a conservation group, feels that the arrest is a good sign for wildlife's protection in DR Congo.

"The national parks have suffered during this period of instability which DR
Congo has gone through,"
said Congo programme manager Amir Bazarbacha.
"After more than a decade of civil war and conflict, ICCN has been considerably

ICCN feels that it has gained control of its management and is making every effort to rid itself of anyone that would harm the organization by allowing bushmeat trading or other illegal activities.

Pooping Perpetrator Leaves Smelly Message

St. Paul - At this time, it is unknown who this man is that purged in various offices in the Homeland Security Offices. Several rooms were spoiled with smelly piles before the man disappeared.

Based on the description that was given, there's an indication that the man might have been homeless. At any rate, he disappeared before police arrived.

As it turns out that the building wasn't secure to begin with. A contractor who is doing work there did not secure the door behind him, tells the spokeswoman for the Minnesota Department of Pubic Safety, Susan Lasley.

I wonder...did he feel any better afterwards...

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

The Handyman...Who Is He?

The handyman. We all know one or two. What is it about him that we like or rather what does he have that perhaps we need? Does he have a winning personality? A friendly smile? Is he smart, funny, what is the draw to the man with this name: handyman?

A handyman may be called this for a variety of reasons. He may be a skilled gardener, mechanic, roofer, brick layer, builder...the list goes on and on. He provides for us a service that is needed at a lesser cost, without leaving us with shoddy work and a huge dent in our checking accounts. Or that's what we initially think and hope.

When you open your door to him, what is the first thing that you notice? In my experience, it's not only an air of professional quality, but also a personality that breaks through the ice and if he should try to sell you the Golden Gate Bridge...well, you'd be might interested! This is, maybe, where we make our mistakes.

This man, who you've welcomed into your home, told him what you need it a kitchen remodeled, or a yard landscaped...who has won your trust, and he's won yours, might just be getting ready to bolt back out the door with your money. Gone. He's disappeared without ever doing the job he agreed to doing.

Or here's an even worse scenario: the job you needed this handyman for is coming along really good. You are impressed with his skill and all that he's accomplished thus far. Life is good. One day or night, you're've decided to take a day or two mini vacation, or even have gone out of town overnight. No problem, you trust the handyman to continue in your absence. Even give him the key to your house.

When you come back, you notice something right away. Yes, he'd done more work, and it looks fine, but there's things missing from your home. Red flags and sirens are going off in your head...was it the handyman's doing, or was there a burglary? Either way, you have to call the police first and ask questions later.

Has this happened to me? No.

But I know of people who have had this done, and I know at least two handymen that are far more than what they seem. By this, I mean that they have done exactly what I wrote above: gained some one's trust, gone in and done a job partially or in entirety, and then later came back and robbed the home. Of anything you can think of. Furniture, electronics, guns, jewelry, what the police would call 'big ticket' items. Even cash is game, or a small safe that's not embedded in a wall.

So where are these handymen now? One is in prison, and the other...he walks the streets today...still being a handyman. This one has done time on and off, but for nothing directly related to this kind of burglary. He has done time however, for stealing some one's checks and forging them. I hate the term 'handyman' because it sounds so safe and so comfortable. The name in itself is very deceiving, and so the next time you need some one to do a job for you, be careful. Ask for credentials, do a background check, whatever you need to do to keep yourself safe. Some of these handymen aren't just thieves, they're murderers too. Don't believe me...then read the news. These handymen are everywhere.