Money Matters - Simplified

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Odd News

Marathoner makes Guinness book

Corona, Calif. -- A Southern California woman has set a record for competing in the most marathons in one year, officials say.

Guinness World Records lauded 52-year-old Yolanda Holder from Corona, Calif., with its title of most marathons completed in one year, the Los Angeles Times reported.

She power walked through 101 races this year breaking the previous record set in 2002 by an Italian who competed in 100 marathons.

Holder says she has put out $25,000 on travel, accommodations and entry fees, and simply trying to arrange a schedule for herself can be daunting, the newspaper said Saturday.

Santa runners raise $200,000 for charity

Boston -- About 500 people took part in an annual Boston running event that raised nearly $205,000 for charities benefiting children, organizers said.

Saturday's chilly run, formerly known as the Santa Speedo Run, featured scantily clad Santa-attired runners, The Boston Herald reported.

Some of the runners wore little more than stylish tight shorts, bikinis and Santa hats. This is the 11th year the event has been held.

The new event is called the SSRun, and featured runners up to 70-years-old.

Funds from this year's event will benefit Starlight Children's Foundation, the Play Ball Foundation, and Hospitality Homes.

Copyright 2010 United Press International, Inc. (UPI).

Camel falls in Nativity re-enactment

Palm Beach, Fla. -- A camel used in a Nativity scene fell into pews at a rehearsal of the First Baptist Church's Christmas show in Florida, but no one was injured, officials said.

Lula Bell, who weighs about 1,000 pounds, may have had a bum knee, forcing her to stumble, a pastor told The Palm Beach (Fla.) Post.

Neither the camel, nor its rider, Alex James, was injured in the accident, and the West Palm Beach church has decided not to use her in its upcoming Christmas production, said worship Pastor Chuck Lewis.

"Everybody's OK," Lewis said about Thursday's incident. "That's the most important thing."

Crime buff creates NYC mob app

New York -- A New York crime buff has provided a guide to decades of Mafia history in the city with a Mafia Maps phone application.

John Hughes' app includes such classic locations as the barber shop where Albert Anastasia was gunned down in 1957 to Sparks Steak House where "Big Paul" Castellano was killed in 1985, the New York Daily News reported Saturday. For each mob historical site, the app provides photos of how the place looks now, a summary what happened there and GPS guidance for getting there.

While Hughes lives in Manhattan, his app covers all five boroughs. His description of Staten Island is "Gangster Bedroom Communities."

Soccer fans protest death

Moscow-- About 1,000 people took part in a protest over the death of a Moscow Spartek football fan, police said.

Moscow Police Chief Vladimir Kolokoltsev Saturday urged the protesters to remain patient and peaceful while the death of Yegor Sviridov, 28, is investigated, RIA Novosti reported.

"If we are calling each other to order, including order in the city streets, I ask everyone to treat each other with respect," Kolokoltsev said.

Sviridov was killed this week during a brawl between football fans and internal migrants from the North Caucasus in north Moscow; police have detained three people who participated in the incident.

Solar panels nearly nixed due to origins

Las Vegas -- The mayor of Las Vegas said he almost halted the dedication of a solar panel carport when he noticed a sample module was assembled in Mexico.

Mayor Oscar Goodman said the Thursday dedication of the solar carport, the first of a planned trio of ports at the Stupak Community Center, was nearly called off when he discovered the sample was assembled in Mexico, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reported Friday.

"When I saw that, I went nuts," he said. "I felt that that was totally unacceptable as far as our sustainability efforts in the United States."
However, Goodman said officials told him the panels themselves were made and assembled domestically.

High levels of manganese found in Pa. soil

University-- Iron furnaces that once covered central Pennsylvania have left a legacy of soils contaminated with manganese, which can be toxic to trees, researchers say.

Researchers at Penn State University quantified the amounts of manganese in soil core samples as part of work funded by the National Science Foundation, PhysOrg.com reported Friday.

The researchers found that "53 percent of manganese in ridge soils can be attributed to atmospheric deposition from anthropogenic (man-made) sources," the researchers reported in the journal Environmental Science and Technology.

Santa line was 3 hours at U.K. theme park

London -- A woman testified at the U.K. trial of a pair of brothers accused of running a scam holiday theme park that children were waiting up to 3 hours to see Santa.

Angela Barnes, of Southsea, England, said she spent $94 to take her family to the Matchams Leisure Park after seeing advertisements for a "magical tunnel of light" and a "bustling Christmas market," but they arrived to find only a 3-hour line to see Santa Claus, the BBC reported Friday.

"I was sad because I persuaded my husband to go because I got excited by these things, because I felt I had dragged him along to something that was a waste of money," Barnes said.

Study: Global warming will shrink habitats

AmNN Arbor -- A study of reptile extinctions in ancient Greece may offer clues to how plants and animals will respond to global warming, researchers say.

U.S. scientists say as the climate warmed at the end of the last ice age, sea levels rose and formed scores of Aegean islands that had formerly been part of the Greek mainland. Many reptiles perished on the ever-smaller islands, ScienceDaily.com reported Friday.

Frogs shows signs of comeback from disease

Newcastle -- Frogs in Australia and the United States may be recovering from a fungal disease that has decimated amphibian populations around the world, researchers say.

Between 1990 and 1998 the populations of several frog species in Australia plummeted due to chytridiomycosis infection, but a recent survey suggests the frogs are re-establishing themselves, NewScientist.com reported Friday.

"It's happening across a number of species," Michael Mahony at the University of Newcastle in New South Wales says.

Barred river frogs, the tusked frog and several tree frog species have returned to areas where they had almost disappeared, and some species have even reached pre-infection levels, Australian researchers say.