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From beefy brawlers and criminal church ladies to tame turkeys and live TV meltdowns, here are the weirdest stories The Detroit News covered in 2018:

Grand Rapids weatherman's live rant goes viral

What felt like a never-ending winter had even a weatherman lashing out. A Grand Rapids meteorologist's on-air rant to his co-anchors about the cold weather went viral. With just the right amount of awkward, he realizes — too late — he needs to dial it back. 

The Chinese food mixup

This started with a complaint about a meal at a Chinese restaurant and ended with a Mount Clemens woman being charged after she allegedly bit off part of the restaurant owner's ear.

CLOSE

Follow the cross-country federal investigation that uncovered one of the largest pure fentanyl seizures in U.S. history. The Detroit News

The secret in the Sony PlayStation

 A clue gleaned from a Sony PlayStation box led federal investigators to one of the largest fentanyl seizures in U.S. history and a cross-country drug conspiracy.

Freed from bank robbery charges, Michigan man wants to save Earth

In a jail cell awaiting trial, Bill Minore told anyone who would listen he had nothing to do with three bank robberies in northern Michigan. Few people believed him.

For one thing, Minore's alibi sounded preposterous, police said. He claimed the real bank robber had set him up by asking him to move the car, knowing it was being watched by a surveillance camera.

But then, in a shocking twist, a federal magistrate dismissed the robbery charges after a preliminary hearing in April, saying there wasn’t enough evidence to send the case to trial.

Lost Belle Isle lighthouse lens stuck in court tug of war

A modern-day treasure hunter has defied the federal government by refusing to surrender rare lighthouse lenses, including one that disappeared from Belle Isle decades ago, according to federal court records.

The lawyer and the bag of cash 

High-profile lawyer Mike Morse received a duffel bag full of cash in January from his former brother-in-law — along with a note taking a shot at a rival lawyer — who is expected to be indicted alongside others next month in connection with a bribery conspiracy that benefited Morse, according to federal court records.

Beefy brawler taps out in $112M conspiracy case

A former heavyweight mixed martial artist and bare-knuckle brawler pleaded guilty for his role in a $112 million health-care fraud case involving an alligator-wrestling doctor.

Josh Burns, 40, of Dexter, admitted funneling kickbacks and bribes to Dr. Frank Patino in return for referring urine samples for drug tests that cost Medicare more than $2.6 million.

Michigan town hisses as puss gets the boot

The most famous inhabitant of the farm town of Lyon has a fondness for books that isn’t slowed by her inability to read. She is a cat who lived at the public library.

People from surrounding towns came just to see her, bearing treats. In a barren downtown, her unusual home was a bevy of activity. She made the forlorn village smile.

Alas, the queen of the stacks was remaindered last month. Puss got the boot. Some patrons had complained about allergies.

Feds: Church lady conned man out of $231K

A 15-time felon swindled $231,000 from an 88-year-old man she met through a lonely hearts club and blew the cash at Detroit casinos, according to federal prosecutors.

Federal court records describe an unusual swindle involving a church lady, a long con and a lonely man looking for love.

Garden City man fights ticket for turkey who moved into his backyard

Mark Johnston’s wife had just left him in March when he was visited by a stranger who refused to leave. Stranger still, the guest was a gargantuan turkey.

The 30-pound butterball, who moved into the backyard, was unbidden but not unwelcomed. Johnston, who had been married nine years, liked the company. But not everyone was thrilled with the visitor.

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