big boom

Steelers playoff game a $22M boost for region

The Steelers-Dolphins playoff game Sunday means more cash for Alyssa Lybarger's cheerleading squad.

Parents, relatives and friends of the 86-member Turners All-Stars of Indiana volunteer to work Heinz Field concessions during games. Money they earn — this year it totaled more than $100,000 — pays for the team to compete in cheerleading competitions across the country.

"It covers the whole cost of the program," said Alyssa's mom, Michelle Lybarger, 45, of Rural Valley. "It makes it affordable for us to allow our children to participate."

Pittsburgh government officials told Bob Bauder of the Tribune-Review that the game will pump about $22 million into the regional economy. Bars, restaurants and hotels say the extra game helps carry their businesses through winter doldrums.

"It's huge for us," said Randy Lamp, manager of McFadden's Saloon in the North Shore. "Typically, January and February is really slow for us.

"This is a way for us to get a really good start on the year."

It also spills over to employees.

"We bank on these events," said Madelyn Snopko, 24, of Allegheny Center, a bartender at McFadden's.

Pittsburgh expects the game will generate $250,000 in extra revenue for city services, Finance Director Paul Leger said. It includes income from amusement tax, a facility usage fee paid by professional athletes (and entertainers) who travel from out of town to play here and parking tax.

Craig Davis, president and CEO of VisitPittsburgh, the region's tourist promotion agency, estimated the game will generate $22 million total in economic benefit, not counting publicity from a national TV audience.

"When you are on national television in a city as pretty as Pittsburgh, I think it really impacts us in a really positive way," he said. "We'll have the eyes of the nation on Pittsburgh."

The cash injection stretches to about 50 nonprofits — including churches, youth sports leagues, high school marching bands, cheerleading squads and civic groups — through food service company Aramark's NPO program, Aramark spokesman David Freireich said.

Aramark permits volunteers who complete food safety training and pass a background check to work concessions in return for a flat rate, he said. You have to be at least 18 to volunteer, and the group must be a state-certified charitable organization.

"The program serves as an alternative to traditional fundraising like car washes and bake sales," Freireich said.

Scientists report 'substantial' reduction in methane emissions

Can seaweed make cow farts less potent?

Early indications of a University of California, Davis study show that feeding dairy cows seaweed may reduce methane emissions caused by their defecation, belching and flatulence, the university announced Thursday.

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quite the prank

Missouri student put school for sale on Craigslist; he's banned from graduation

It was supposed to just be a senior prank. But Truman High School officials weren't laughing when they banned the student from his graduation.

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Man trying to kill weeds with torch ... torches his garage

How's this for second-guessing your decisions?

As if there wasn't a better way to kill weeds — you know, like any one of hundreds of products you can buy at your local home or hardware store or just some elbow grease and gloves — an Ohio man resorted to a blow torch.

He might have killed the weeds.

But the bigger casualty was his detached garage.

The Springfield News-Sun reports firefighters were called to the home about 4 a.m. Thursday to find the garage engulfed in flames.

Officials say losses from the garage, which also was storing tools and appliances, are between $10,000 and $15,000.

The cost of embarrassment? Priceless.


Man helps wife deliver their own baby on side of highway

Gotta do what you gotta do.

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background check

Pawn shop says they’re not Dick’s in AR-15 sign

A pawn shop in South Carolina is using the backlash against Dick's Sporting Goods recent policy change of not selling guns, to advertise that they sell guns and aren't Dick's.

The Crossroads Pawn and Audio in Little River, S.C., put up the sign last week which reads, "We sell AR-15's because we're not Dick's."

The company also posted a photo of the sign to their Facebook page Tuesday, which was met with mostly supportive comments.

Barbara Davey, a manager of the shop, spoke to local TV station WPDE and said, "It was a simple marketing idea is all it was."

She said that the sign was met with some pushback, but has brought in more business.

"We have a few people, you know, who weren't in favor of the sign but our positive feedback really outweighed that negative feedback," said Davey.

The store posted a statement on Monday explaining their stance on guns: "An AR15 is NOT a combat weapon or a tactical assault rifle. In no way are the horrific massacres happening to our children and in our schools acceptable. This violence must stop."

They also support the NRA.

In February, Dick's, based in Findlay, announced that they would no longer sell assault-style weapons and restrict gun sales to those older than 21.

What the cluck?

Crash dumps 40,000 pounds of chicken feathers on highway

A semi made a fowl mess when it rolled over on Interstate 5 north of Tacoma: It dumped about 40,000 pounds of chicken feathers across the roadway.

Washington State Patrol Trooper Rick Johnson says the driver told investigators he fell asleep at about 3:30 a.m. Wednesday and lost control of the truck, which hit a guardrail and overturned.

The truck was hauling the feathers from a Foster Farms poultry facility to West Coast Reduction, a rendering company based in Vancouver, British Columbia. The company's website says it recycles animal byproducts into ingredients for many items, including pet feed and soap.

The News Tribune newspaper of Tacoma reports that the highway backed up for 11 miles as crews worked to scoop up the feathers. All lanes reopened by about 7:30 a.m.

Johnson said the driver would be cited for negligent driving.

Why? Just why?

Florida man arrested for telling playground kids where babies come from

Honestly isn't always the best policy. Well, at least when you're being crude about it.

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Home rule

Parents take 30-year-old son to court — he won't move out

We swear we saw this movie.

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