By JAMIE L. LAREAU
Detroit Free Press
AP Member Exchange
PLYMOUTH, Mich. — It’s a late Monday afternoon and a small tavern on a remote side street in downtown Plymouth is packed.
Hundreds of folks are there to celebrate the birthday of arguably the biggest star in town: An 8-year-old Bernese Mountain Dog named Stella.
“I’m the township supervisor and Stella’s bigger than me,” Kurt Heise told the Detroit Free Press . “I couldn’t get a crowd like this for my birthday. She’s got a book and a restaurant named after her.”
Stella is the namesake for Stella’s Black Dog Tavern, a once-struggling bar that is now a dining destination.
The man behind Stella’s fame and the tavern’s turnaround is Bob Ostendorf.
He’s a turnaround specialist who spent about 30 years rescuing companies, including auto suppliers, from financial ruin. Five years ago at age 63,
Ostendoft abandoned retirement and bought Doyle’s Tavern. He rebranded it and made it so successful that he plans to move it to a bigger venue in Plymouth before year-end to accommodate its growing popularity.
But it hasn’t been all triumph for Ostendorf. Along the way, he endured personal tragedies, and it was this 125-pound black dog, Stella, who would ultimately rescue him.
Now they both help others. They raise money for a local humane society and Stella is a certified service dog who visits former war veterans at Veterans Affairs Ann Arbor Healthcare System. She also doles out daily empathy to everyone she meets at the tavern, in some cases changing lives.
Here is the story of a man, his life’s work and the dog who’s touching a town.
Bob Ostendorf is a reserved man who’ll shake your hand with genuine warmth.
He has an avuncular presence that belies his deep military discipline and financial acumen.
And he loves two things: People and dogs. He credits the former for making him a successful businessman. He credits the latter for making him a better man.
“I think God was ingenious when he created dogs,” said Ostendorf. “Stella and I spend a lot of time together and we do benevolent things.”
ALTON (AP) — No injuries were reported when a train derailed in northwest Iowa but 20 of the cars carrying soybean oil and sand fell into the flooded Floyd River.
The Des Moines Register reports the bridge beneath the Union Pacific train collapsed as part of the derailment on Sunday morning. Officials said no hazardous materials leaked into the river.
The Sioux County Sheriff’s Department shot video showing the mangled pile of rail cars and the bridge in the river. Alton City Administrator Dale Oltmans says the derailment happened around 4:30 a.m. Sunday on the outside edge of the small town of Alton, Iowa.
Union Pacific spokeswoman Raquel Espinoza said recent flooding and heavy rain may have contributed to the derailment. The train was travelling from Mankato, Minnesota, to North Platte, Nebraska.
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Pentagon says the remains of three U.S. Marines killed when their helicopter was shot down during the Vietnam War will be buried next week at Arlington National Cemetery.
The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency announced Friday that the remains of the three men will be buried as a group with full military honors next Thursday. The three men are: Capt. John A. House II, of Pelham, New York; Lance Cpl. John D. Killen III, of Davenport, Iowa; and Cpl. Glyn L. Runnels Jr., of Birmingham, Alabama.
The Pentagon says their remains were identified in March 2017.
Military officials say House, the oldest at 28, was the pilot of the Sea Knight helicopter that crashed after being hit by enemy fire on June 30, 1967. Four others also were killed, including 18-year-old Killen and 21-year-old Runnels.
WESTON, W.Va. (AP) — West Virginia University’s Extension Service is holding a conference on substance misuse.
A statement from the school says meetings on Monday and Tuesday at WVU Jackson’s Mill in Weston will focus on raising awareness of the current state of the opioid crisis, highlighting strengths of current extension programs and creating a shared vision to respond to community needs.
Officials say the summit will allow faculty and staff from all over the state to share local efforts and partnerships that address substance misuse. The aim is to create a shared vision for a comprehensive response to West Virginia’s immediate and long-term needs as well as finding opportunities to grow through partnerships and identifying additional funding sources for programs.
DAVY, W.Va. (AP) — Police in West Virginia say a man has been shot and wounded by an officer during a pursuit.
State Police Sgt. A.S. Goodson tells the Bluefield Daily Telegraph a McDowell County sheriff’s deputy shot 29-year-old Christopher Roberts in the abdomen on Friday. Goodson says Roberts remained hospitalized Sunday at Raleigh General Hospital in Beckley.
McDowell County Sheriff’s Sgt. James E. Muncy Jr. says the deputy was trying to pull over Roberts for reckless driving and a chase ensued.
Goodson says the chase ended in Wyoming County when the suspect accelerated his vehicle toward the deputy, who fired at Roberts.
Goodson says Roberts faces charges for driving with a revoked license. Additional charges are pending.
Information from: Bluefield Daily Telegraph, http://www.bdtonline.com
HONOLULU — State officials urged residents and visitors to be prepared as a strong tropical storm approached the island state. Olivia was a few hundred miles east of Hilo late Monday with maximum sustained winds of 70 mph. It was downgraded from a hurricane earlier in the day after wind shear weakened the storm. Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell cautioned against complacency, noting tropical storms have led to flooding in Honolulu in recent years. “We don’t know what it’s going to look like as Olivia approaches the Hawaiian Islands. So please, folks, don’t let your guard down,” Caldwell said. He said crews were working hard to clear debris from streams so they wouldn’t block expected increased water flows. Forecasters say Olivia may drop 10 to 15 inches of rain on the Big Island and Maui County, though some areas could get 20 inches. Wil Okabe, Hawaii County managing director, said work crews were being sent to neighborhoods and parts of highways that flooded and suffered landslides during Hurricane Lane last month. “By having people around to monitor the situation, to look for the signs, we can respond much quicker,” Okabe said. The county is also preparing to open shelters. Lane dumped more than 52 inches of rain on the Big Island, marking the nation’s second-highest rainfall total for a tropical cyclone since 1950. Nearly 40 people had to be rescued from floodwaters, while about 200 people reported damage to their homes on the Big Island because of Lane. Hurricane Harvey, which deposited more than 60 inches of rain in Texas last year, is the nation’s wettest tropical cyclone in the past seven decades. The ground has dried since Lane so there isn’t concern about it being already saturated before the Olivia arrives, Okabe said. Keith Regan, managing director of Maui County, urged visitors to stay away from the town of Hana and the narrow winding road leading there. Hana Highway is a popular route for tourists to the island and could suffer some of the biggest effects of the storm. Gov. David Ige says the state would be placing road equipment in Hana before the storm arrives so crews will be ready to respond if the highway gets blocked. Oahu and Kauai are forecast to receive 3 to 6 inches of rain, though precipitation could be as much as 8 to 10 inches in some areas. The forecast showed the center of the storm heading for Maui. But officials stressed there’s uncertainty about the storm’s exact path. “It’s important that we don’t focus on the forecast track. This storm could directly impact every area of the state from South Point all the way to the north shore of Kauai,” said Tom Travis, the administrator of the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency.
AMES (AP) — Like most cities, Ames in central Iowa takes pains to keep its downtown looking lush in the summer by planting plenty of beds and containers lining the streets.
But Ames’ plantings also feed the hungry.
For a second year, Ames Main Street has substituted edible landscaping — including potatoes, tomatoes, peppers, squash, eggplant, cucumbers, kale, cabbage and okra — for the flowers it used to plant. On Friday, volunteers harvested more than 200 pounds of sweet potatoes from 25 planters along the street.
About 200 pounds of the potatoes were donated to Food at First, the local food pantry, said Ames Main Street spokeswoman Cindy Hicks.
“I’d say around 15 pounds were given to people on the street who came up and just asked for some,” Hicks said.
Downtown residents and business employees are welcome to pick whatever produce they’ll consume. The rest goes to charity.
Hicks says about 100 pounds of other produce has been donated so far this summer, and more is expected, as many of the vegetable plants are still producing.
“Some of it is used right away in meals that are fed to the homeless and hungry, while the rest is provided — like groceries — to those who visit Food at First,” she said.
Last year, the effort produced about 100 pounds of vegetables donated to the food pantry. “If the fresh vegetables we donate can help even one person not worry about where their next meal is coming from, it is worth doing,” Art Baumgartner, chair of the Ames Main Street Design Committee, said.
KEEWATIN, Minn. (AP) — Steelworkers and their supporters rallied on the Iron Range to show a united front as they negotiate a labor contract with U.S. Steel.
The rallies in Virginia and Keewatin Thursday were among those that took place across the country.
KBJR-TV reports union leaders say U.S. Steel and ArcelorMittal have proposed contracts that don’t reflect the success of the industry, especially in light of sacrifices they made in 2015 when the steel industry wasn’t doing as well.
USW Local 1938 says if a contract deal isn’t reached by midnight Saturday, workers will decide the next steps which could include a strike.
U.S. Steel says that with previous contract negotiations, it hopes to come to an agreement ahead of the deadline.
By JEREMY ERVIN
Port Huron Times Herald
AP Member Exchange
FORT GRATIOT TOWNSHIP, Mich. — With a view of the bird feeders and flowers out the window, Sally Eagen assembles her own masterpiece bit by bit. About a thousand puzzle pieces were laid out across the table as an image gradually took form.
Eagen, 93, started doing jigsaw puzzles after she moved into the Lakeshore Woods assisted living facility in Fort Gratiot in 2014. She wasn’t an enthusiast before, but picked up the pieces as a way to pass the time. Sometimes she has problems sleeping at night, and heads to her puzzle to relax.
“I was bored and I don’t like crafts,” Eagen told the Port Huron Times Herald .
Now the halls of Lakeshore Woods are covered with Eagen’s work. Her largest project is a 3,000-piece depiction of a mountain, water and woodland scene.
It took her about a year to fit together about 2,999 of those pieces. She got all the way to the end of the puzzle to find that it had one piece missing.
She got another copy of puzzle, sorted through the 3,000 pieces to find the one she needed, and finished it. It is framed and hangs on a wall at Lakeshore Woods with the others.
Eagen typically does 1,000-piece puzzles, which can take a couple of months.
“I’m not fast on it. I just do it for fun,” Eagen said.
Eagen’s strategy for completing the puzzles involves sorting the pieces by color into different paper plates. That way, if she’s working on a section, she can sort through a pile of pieces that fit with that part of the image. Several puzzles on the walls come in the shape of maple leaves, and thus lack traditional starting points like edge and corner pieces.
Eagen recently celebrated her birthday with her family. She has no children of her own but has 27 nieces and nephews. She grew up as a country girl around Brimley, before going into accounting work and operating a keypunch for companies like Chrysler and Mueller Brass.
“It’s no surprise with the puzzles; she’s very good with her hands,” nephew Mike Howard said.
Nephew Dave Tokarski said Eagen usually likes to keep her birthdays a quiet affair; just cake, coffee and a few friends. But the family tries to do something special anyway. When asked what gifts they got her, Tokarski laughed.
“She’s got enough puzzles for now,” Tokarski said.
CLEVELAND (AP) — Police say a woman riding an electric scooter in downtown Cleveland has been hit by a car and has died.
Cleveland police spokeswoman Sgt. Jennifer Ciaccia (chach) says the crash occurred around 10 p.m. Saturday when a car traveling “well in excess” of the 25 mph speed limit struck the rear of the scooter. The statement says the 21-year-old woman was thrown from the scooter onto the road. She was taken to a hospital, where she was pronounced dead.
The Cuyahoga County Medical Examiner’s Office hasn’t publicly identified the woman, pending notification of family members.
Ciaccia says the 19-year-old man who was driving the car that struck the scooter was arrested on a charge of aggravated vehicular homicide. Police say they believe alcohol may have been involved in the crash.