Strangest State: Peacocks Run Amok, a Dancing Granny and a Rattlesnake Resurrection
MIDLAND // The peacocks in Trinity Estates are now officially everybody’s problem, following a contentious municipal court decision in August. George Lohmann had been brought before the court for his alleged complicity with at least 70 “offensive animals at large,” but a jury determined that although Lohmann has fed the birds, he was not responsible for their behavior. Now residents can only watch helplessly as the muster of vibrant peafowl runs amok through their once-charming west-side neighborhood. “I open up my back patio door, and I used to listen to [Lohmann’s] windmill and listen to the donkeys and listen to the peacocks bray, and I thought I was in heaven,” Midland County Commissioner Randy Prude told the Midland Reporter-Telegram. Today, Prude said, it’s a different story. “They eat every plant that we plant and they leave great big globs of poop down on our flagstone patio.”
FREER // KRIS 6 News called it “the very definition of a freak accident.” While working a call at the Days Inn, Freer police officer Tomas Hinojosa was bitten by a headless rattlesnake. The ordeal began simply enough. Summoned to remove the motel’s uninvited guest, Hinojosa caught the snake with his snare pole, then stabbed it and sliced off its head. A bystander asked Hinojosa to slice off the rattles as a souvenir, and the officer obliged. As Hinojosa bagged the remains for disposal, the head of the doomed viper exhausted itself by clamping its jaw around the officer’s little finger. “It was one of those freaky deals ’cause it was dead,” Hinojosa told the Alice Echo-News Journal. As his fingertip turned a deep and troubling shade of purple, Hinojosa was rushed to a hospital intensive care unit and treated for the venom. Hinojosa has since recovered, but says that night left him with a lesson he won’t forget. “Just ’cause something is dead doesn’t mean it’s not going to react,” he said. “I learned the hard way.”
MARSHALL // Claudine Haggerty “appears mild mannered, but the sound of music changes her whole demeanor,” according to KSLA News 12. Haggerty, who recently turned 86, typically prefers a small audience when she feels moved by the boogie spirit, but on a visit in late August her granddaughter Beverly Jenkins covertly filmed her and shared the video on Facebook. “Get me some good music and I can get down,” Haggerty told KSLA, and evidently Bishop Bullwinkle’s “Hell 2 Da Naw Naw” passed the test. Strutting and shimmying across her front porch in an orange dress while the song plays and her family hoots, Haggerty has now become the latest Internet-famous “dancing granny.” Until a reporter informed her that she had “become an overnight dancing sensation,” Haggerty seemed unaware of her fame. “They talking about, ‘I saw you on Facebook.’ What is a Facebook?” Haggerty asked. Upon learning her video has been viewed more than 1 million times, Haggerty was circumspect. “Damn,” she said. “Too many people.”
MINEOLA // Acting Postmaster Carlist Brinkley has finally made it, the Mineola Monitor reported. The “goal-oriented” former Army recruiter joined the United States Postal Service in Athens, then transferred to Tyler, where, the paper noted, “he worked in all three post offices.” After two years in Gladewater, the Mineola High School class of 1974 graduate is finally back home. Brinkley said he’s thrilled to be a part of such a customer service-oriented office. When a woman called to say she’d have to come pick up her package after she got off work, Brinkley cut out the wait. “I just took it to her,” he told the Monitor. “That’s what you do.” Brinkley’s desk, which at first appears cluttered, is in fact a triumph of organization. “Each one of these piles is significant,” he told reporter Doris Newman. Now the 59-year-old plans to retire within two and a half years — but he may have his eyes set on an even greater prize: the Wood County commissioner’s office. “You know, this is America. You can be anything you want to be,” he explained. “I’m like Nike, I just do it.”
FLOWER MOUND // Denton County developer Curtis Grant had grand plans for the property he bought: a dozen new suburban homes to replace the teardown job he figured was about a century old. But as he began pulling away the walls of the 16-by-16-foot living room, he discovered inner walls made of thick stacked logs. A geoscientist summoned from the University of Arkansas used tree-ring analysis to date the logs to as far back as the 1840s, according to the Denton Record-Chronicle. Now Grant’s designs on the property include a “historic homestead” to remind tourists of what once stood amid the sprawl of Dallas-Fort Worth’s northern suburbs. And, according to the paper, he’ll still have room on the property for nine new houses.