Unusual news of the past week as reported by GateHouse newspapers.

Mysterious meat has residents baffled

FRAMINGHAM, Mass. -- For the past four weeks, once a week, someone has dumped meat at the Town Centre, said Chris Walsh, who lives nearby.

And it wasn't a small amount of meat, or rotting meat. Rather, it was large hunks of meat that appeared to be recently purchased at a grocery store.

The first three times people discovered the meat, they threw it away, but Walsh decided to call the Board of Health and the Framingham Police when he discovered what appeared to be a shoulder cut of beef on the ground Tuesday.

The Board of Health sent someone who took pictures of the meat, he said, and Walsh spoke to a police dispatcher.

"The dispatcher said maybe someone was trying to lure their pet back," said Walsh. "What kind of pet would you lure back with that? A cougar?"

Board of Health Director Ethan Mascoop said an inspector has been assigned to handle the case of the mysterious meat. The latest piece appeared to weigh 4 to 5 pounds.

"It's unusual, there's no doubt about that," said Mascoop. "It's not your typical complaint that comes to the Health Department. We take every complaint and situation seriously."

Mascoop would not say if the meat is being tested.

Walsh said he was concerned because so many people walk their dogs through the common, and he's worried the meat may be poisoned to harm animals.

Driver passes out, crashes car into church

OSAGE BEACH, Mo. -- The driver of a car that crashed into a church after reportedly passing out behind the wheel faces charges of driving while intoxicated and careless and imprudent driving.

When officers arrived on the scene, they found the driver passed out with his foot still on the accelerator.

According to information provided by the Osage Beach Fire Protection District, the accident happened Monday at 9:35 p.m.

Police were responding to a suspicious vehicle spotted near the Cornerstone Methodist Church.

Officers were originally responding to the area for a suspicious vehicle report when the 2000 Chevy Malibu crashed into the church and became wedged inside the building.

Because the driver was still accelerating, the vehicle’s tires were spinning, which caused the building to fill with smoke.

Witnesses told police the driver and passenger had passed out prior to the crash.

Once the driver, a 37-year-old Osage Beach resident, was determined to be fit for confinement, he was transported to the Osage Beach jail, where he was detained for Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

The driver is also facing charges of careless and imprudent driving and driving while intoxicated. 

Teen charged with strapping explosives to teddy bear

BROCKTON, Mass. -- The Massachusetts state police bomb squad detonated a homemade explosive device that had been attached to a teddy bear and left on a street Monday afternoon, a fire official said.

A 15-year-old boy has been charged in connection with the incident, police said.

“It was a plastic bottle that had a solution inside the bottle that was mixed in a way that, after a period of time, it would explode,” Deputy Fire Chief George Phillips said. “A teddy bear was wrapped around the plastic bottle and it was left in the street.”

Police and the state police bomb squad responded at 5:15 p.m. Monday after receiving a 911 call reporting the explosive.

A representative from the state fire marshal’s office also responded, Phillips said.

It took authorities about 30 minutes to detonate the device with a robotic machine designed to disarm explosives, Phillips said.

The 15-year-old boy, whose name was not released because he is a juvenile, was charged with possessing an explosive device and disturbing the peace.

Bee Gees help save man’s life

MONMOUTH, Ill. -- County Market Store Director Rob Ravel is convinced that along with the fruits, vegetables and pop in the store aisles is a guardian angel.

Divine intervention is the only explanation he can come up with to describe the events that took place last month and ended with customer Jim Gavin surviving heart failure in the store the morning of Oct. 18.

But for Ravel, the story really starts the day before, during his lunch break. Just as he was about to head back to work, a news story caught his attention. Though he should have gone back to work, he decided to stay and watch. The segment was about a new CPR technique that syncs the compressions to the rhythm of the Bee Gees "Stayin' Alive."

While he was once CPR certified, he had not done any training since 1998, and hadn't thought much about it until seeing the news segment that Friday.

"Who would have ever guessed 17 hours later, I'd be putting what I saw into practice," he said.

On Saturday morning, Ravel was working and stopped for a moment to talk to one of his regular customers — Gavin. About 15 minutes later, he heard a yell that someone had fallen and he came running. Ravel said the security tape showed Gavin had fallen flat on his back so hard that his glasses bounced off head and left a large bruise.

As his staff called 911 and blocked the aisles, Ravel and one of his employees, Kay Lincoln — who along with being a cashier also works as an emergency room nurse — tended to Gavin.
While at first they thought he was having a seizure, he then stopped breathing. Ravel described his decision to start CPR as "instinctual."

"I don't know really what was going through my mind," he said, other than the Bee Gees.

Gavin stopped breathing and turned blue several times in the three minutes Ravel performed CPR before the ambulance arrived. But Ravel was not sure he had done enough. Lincoln told him she had heard the "death rattle." Several hours later he heard a helicopter fly over and was sure Gavin was being transported. He was — to Springfield.

"I thought he was gone," said Ravel, who became emotional as he recounted the story.

But the following Monday, Gavin's wife, Danny, called Ravel and told him he survived.

GateHouse News Service