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April 17, 2014

Squirrel Blamed For $300K In Damage To Building

Fort Wayne, IN (AP) Officials say a wayward squirrel caused about $300,000 in damage to an eastern Indiana community center set to open in June.

Fort Wayne Parks Department officials say the squirrel got into the electrical equipment of the building in McMillen Park last week, causing a power surge that damaged the heating and air conditioning systems and some parts of the boiler system. The squirrel didn’t survive.

Parks director Al Moll said the repairs will be covered by insurance, minus the department’s $50,000 deductible.

The Journal Gazette reports crews are working to make repairs so the center can open as planned on June 7. A nearly $2 million project is transforming the former McMillen Ice Arena into a community center with basketball courts, an indoor track and other activities.

Sometimes Bad Luck Is All the Luck There Is

Sonora, CA (AP) Police say a man was arrested after using a stolen car to get to a court appearance in California.

James Manning was taken into custody after police say they received a call from an auto dealership in Redding on Friday reporting the vehicle was stolen. The 2001 Mitsubishi’s GPS indicated it was parked in front of the Tuolumne County courthouse. Officers found the car, which already had a different set of license plates on it.

Manning’s wife, 45-year-old Teresa Castillo, told officers her husband had bought the car earlier in the day for $200 so they could drive to his court appearance. The 49-year-old Manning and his wife were arrested on suspicion of vehicle theft and possession of a controlled substance. They remained jailed on Monday. It could not immediately be determined if the couple had lawyers.

Ireland’s Wedding-Singer Priest An Internet Hit

Dublin (AP) Father’s got talent.

An Irish priest has become a social-media sensation after he surprised a bride and groom by singing a custom-made cover of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” at their wedding.

Video of the Rev. Ray Kelly’s altar-side performance has shot to the top of YouTube in Ireland with more than 240,000 viewings since it was posted Monday following the weekend nuptials of Chris and Leah O’Kane.

The parish priest in the town of Oldcastle, northwest of Dublin, started his version with the words:

“We join together here today, to help two people on their way, as Leah and Chris start their life together.”

Kelly wins laughter midway as he raises his eyebrows at the stunned couple, and offers a playful wink at the end.

German Store Embarrassed By Hitler Portrait Cups

Berlin (AP) A small German furniture store chain says it inadvertently ordered 5,000 coffee cups bearing a faint portrait of Adolf Hitler from China.

Christian Zurbrueggen, co-owner of the Zurbrueggen chain, told German news agency dpa on Thursday that 175 of the offending cups were sold before customers reported the problem.

Zurbrueggen said he wants to take the cups ``out of circulation.’’

The 4,825 unsold cups have been destroyed and Zurbrueggen says he’s offering a 20-euro ($28) voucher for the return of the others, which were sold for 1.99 euros each.

The cups have a faint feature of a Nazi-era stamp bearing Hitler’s portrait and a postmark with a swastika in the background overlaid with another layer of decoration. They were ordered from a trade fair in China and delivered last month.

Commuter’s Video Shows Rat Terrifying NYC Subway

New York (AP) Turns out, New Yorkers are just as wimpy as anyone else.

A subway train was leaving the Fulton Street station in lower Manhattan on Monday when someone shouted, “Rat on the train!”

Jinais Ponnampadikkal Kader (jih-NYE’-ees poh-nahm-PAH’-dihk-kahl KAH’-dur) started recording the ensuing panic on his cellphone.

His video shows people screaming as a large rat runs from side to side.

It ends when the train reaches the High Street station in Brooklyn.

The 28-year-old Kader is a software developer who lives in Harrison, N.J.

More than 700,000 people had clicked on the YouTube video by Wednesday afternoon.

Judge Rules Flashing Headlights To Warn Others Is Free Speech

Grants Pass, OR (AP) Hauling a truckload of logs to a Southern Oregon mill last fall, Chris Hill noticed a sheriff’s deputy behind him and flashed his lights to warn a UPS driver coming the other way.

The deputy pulled over Hill on U.S. Highway 140 in White City and handed him a $260 ticket for improperly using his headlights, saying another deputy had seen the flashing lights from behind the UPS truck and alerted him to stop the log truck because of the signaling.

Outraged, Hill decided to fight the ticket, and on Wednesday, a Jackson County Justice Court judge dismissed the citation, finding that motorists flashing their headlights amounts to speech protected by the Oregon Constitution.

Judge Joseph Carter determined the law covering the use of high beams was valid, but was unconstitutional as it was applied by the deputy.

``The citation was clearly given to punish the Defendant for that expression,’’ the judge wrote. ``The government certainly can and should enforce the traffic laws for the safety of all drivers on the road. However, the government cannot enforce the traffic laws, or any other laws, to punish drivers for their expressive conduct.’’

The Jackson County Sheriff’s Office did not return a telephone call for comment.

Hill, 38, of Klamath Falls, has been driving truck for 10 years, and was not interested in seeing his insurance rates go up for getting a ticket. He initially told the deputy that the UPS driver was his neighbor, and he was just saying hello.

``My point to the cop was his partner didn’t know why I was flashing my lights,’’ Hill said. ``He couldn’t tell for sure what I was doing.’’
By the time his case went to court last month, Hill had researched the law and found nothing that expressly prohibited the use of headlights to signal other drivers. He also recalled a TV news story about a federal judge in the Midwest barring police from handing out tickets to drivers who flashed their lights to warn others of a speed trap ahead.

``I thought, `Well, I’ll throw that in there, too,’’’ he said.

Acting as his own attorney in a hearing conducted by telephone, Hill said he acknowledged the UPS driver wasn’t his neighbor, and he raised the free speech argument.

``What I did wasn’t illegal, whether it’s freedom of speech or not,’’ he told The Associated Press.

Dave Fidanque, director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Oregon, noted the Oregon Court of Appeals overturned a traffic law prohibiting horn honking for non-traffic purposes on similar grounds in the 1990s after a number of people got tickets for honking in support of U.S. troops during the first Gulf War.

``If the motive of the sheriff’s deputies was in fact not to make the roads safer, but to raise more revenue from traffic enforcement, that would be even more reason why it should be unconstitutional,’’ Fidanque said. ``If this is part of a pattern, then it probably would be worth us looking into it in more detail.’’

 

 


ARCHIVES:

April 10 - Burglary Suspects Butt Dials 911

April 3 - Teen Says Typeface Change Could Save Millions

March 27 - Scrap Dealer’s Bargain Turns Out To Be Worth Millions

March 20 - City Considers Taking Ban On Spitting Off Books

March 13 - Gettysburg Wax Museum Selling Historical Figures

March 6 - Woman Gives Birth In New York City Crosswalk

February 27 - Wisconsin Rubber Duck Bill Racing To Finish Line

February 20 - Wait Till Santa See ‘Em! Reindeer Get Glowing Antlers

February 13 - NJ Festival Lets You Eat, Drink, Floss With Bacon

February 6 - Romance Sizzles At Bacon Fest As Couples Marry

January 30 - Man Shares Wanted Photo, And Cops Really LIKE Him

January 23 - Beloved Dog’s Ashes Returned To Owner After Two Years

January 16 - Colorado Gives Up And Renames Mile 420 Marker

January 9 - Brewery Responds To Starbucks Letter With $6 Check

January 2 - Atlanta Home Prompts 911 Calls With Fake Dangler

December 26 - Dog That Survived Gassing Headed To Rose Parade

December 19 - Tourist Distracted By Facebook Falls Off Pier

December 12 - ‘Cannibal Sandwiches’ Sicken Wisconsin Residents

December 5 - Topless Barber Charged With Unlicensed Cosmetology

November 28 - 852 Thai Children Set Human Christmas Tree Record

November 21 - Beagle’s Nose Predicts Few US Polar Bear Cubs

November 14 - NY Knish Factory Fire Leads To Nationwide Shortage

November 7 - Stolen Costumes + Craigslist = Not A Good Idea

October 31 - City: Odor From Sriracha Chili Plant A Nuisance

October 24 - Deadly Halloween Tableau Too Realistic For Some

October 17 - Abandoned Philly Prison Adds Screams For Halloween

October 10 - Indiana Dog That Crashed Half Marathon Gets Medal

October 3 - Naked And Scared Has Turned Into Semi-Clothed & Spooky

September 26 - Extra Weight Costs Bank Robber Swift Exit

September 19 - Russian Shot In Quarrel Over Kant’s Philosophy

September 12 - Art Heist Trial Help Up Over Lawyer’s Sneakers

September 5 - Marijuana Wrapped Arrow Shot At Squirrel?

August 29 - Hole Makes Huge Pumpkin Ineligible For Alaska Fair

August 22 - Prowling Ninja Says He Was Trying To Help Cops

August 15 - British Cats’ DNA Helps Convict A Killer

August 8 - China’s Heat Wave Brings‘Dead’ Man Back To Life

August 1 - Owner Could Face Charges For Venomous Snakes

July 25 - Swimmer To Go Alone Hauling 2,000 Pounds Of Brick

July 18 - Thai University Apologizes For Hitler Banner

July 11 - Winner Of The Cherry-Spitting Contest - BB Gun!

July 4 - Family Dogs Survive Close Call With Mama & Baby Bears

June 27 - ‘Here’s Looking At You...Officer!’ Man Quotes Bogart Upon Arrest

June 20 - "Happy Birthday To You" Copyright Suit Filed In NY

June 13 - Nude Revelers Greet Popular Tourist Train

June 6 - ‘Bucket List’ Item Leads To Women’s Arrest

May 30 - Swing Dance Your Way To Class Credit

May 23 - NH City Sues Parking Meter “Robin Hoods”

May 16 - Critter Cams Provide Peek Into The Lives Of Bears

May 9 - OMG - The Sun Is Shining! School Closes For Nice Weather

May 2 - Cartel-Linked Man Arrested On The Dance Floor

April 25 - Oregon Juror Jailed For Texting During Trial

April 18 - What’s That Sound? Court Screeners Find Pet Duck In Bag

April 11 - Goat That Walked Into Bar Was Taken From Zoo

April 4 - Man Accused Of Using Fake Penis For Drug Test

March 28 - Caretaker Charged With Taking Care Of Old Whiskey, Too

March 21 - Crime Doesn’t Pay #1: Thief Returns Money From 1980s

March 14 - People, Pooches Team Up To Fight Flab At Gym

March 7 - 37-Pound Tubby Tabby, Biscuit, In Need Of Home

February 28 - Shoeshine Man Donates $200,000 In Tips

February 21 - 911 Call Asking For Cigarettes Leads To Arrest

February 14 - Mistrial Declared When Prosthetic Eye Pops Out

February 7 - Snoozing Judge Sent Home For Nap


 

 

 

 

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