News and Blues
by Roland Sweet - Wednesday, July 30th, 2014

Your weekly re-cap of weird and funny news from around the nation.

Curses, Foiled Again

Police named Travis Devonte Rice, 21, as one of their suspects who stole four cars from a car dealership in Plantation, Fla., because he dropped his photo-identification card at the scene. Rice was on probation for armed robbery. Surveillance video confirmed his identity and showed him and another man leaving the scene through a broken window, even though the door right next to it was unlocked, dealership owner Adnan “Eddie” Radoncic said. (South Florida Sun Sentinel)

Familiarity Breeds Arrest

While dining at a high-end restaurant in Kansas City, Mo., a deputy U.S. marshal recognized another patron as Virgil Tillman, 30, a felon who had eluded police in two states since 2011 and whom he’d been hunting for five weeks. “I had been looking at the guy’s picture every day for weeks,” the deputy said after he called city police, who arrested Tillman as he was leaving Fogo de Chao. (Kansas City’s KSHB-TV)

Open-Door Policy

Officials in Vancouver, British Columbia, changed its building code to ban doorknobs on all new buildings. Instead, doors are required to have handles, making them more accessible to the elderly and disabled. Critics of the new rule note that handles also make doors easier for bears to open. In fact, knob advocates note that Pitkin County, Colo., has banned door levers on buildings specifically to prevent bears from entering buildings. Meanwhile, officials in Halifax and Pickering, east of Toronto, are asking their provincial governments to follow Vancouver’s example. (The Economist)

Second-Amendment Follies

After a tree removal crew reported being chased off by a shirtless Michael Smith with a handgun, police armed with assault rifles surrounded the man’s home in Norridgewock, Maine. The officers stood down when they learned that the “gun” was actually a tattoo of a handgun on Smith’s stomach that looks like a gun tucked into his waistband (Associated Press)

Drinking-Class Hero

Adding beer when barbecuing meat reduces the risk of colon cancer, according to Portuguese researchers. Reporting in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, the team from the University of Porto explained that beer when it’s roasted is rich in antioxidants, which soak up free radicals in meat that grilling causes to form polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). According to author Isabel Ferreira, beef marinated in dark beer has fewer PAHs than pale lagers and better than half the PAHs of beerless beef. (The Economist)

Startling Move

The Missouri Department of Transportation announced plans to deploy “acoustical weapons” to slow down speeders. The agency said that “directed-sound communication devices,” used in Afghanistan and against Occupy Wall Street protesters, will be set up near road construction sites and blast sound of up to 153 decibels directly at vehicles exceeding the posted speed limit. (The St. Louis American)

Technology’s Latest Victim

After border officials in Ontario arrested Louis DiNatale, 46, accusing him of trying to smuggle a loaded handgun into Canada, the Kentucky resident insisted that he and his wife didn’t want to enter Canada in the first place. He explained they were on a road trip to upstate New York when they were “misdirected by an unreliable GPS.” They arrived at the border crossing, where DiNatale admitted owning a gun, explaining “it was my right as an American citizen to do so,” but denied having it with him. Agents searched the car and found a Bersa .380 handgun stowed in the center console that DiNatale said he had forgotten was there. The retired Army sergeant major faces three years in a Canadian prison. (Los Angeles Times)

Is There Anything Bacon Can’t Do?

Authorities accused Cameo Adawn Crispi, 31, of trying to set fire to her ex-boyfriend’s home in Naples, Utah, by leaving a pound of bacon burning on a gas stove. A police officer responding to a complaint by the ex-boyfriend discovered the fire in time to stop it from spreading. According to charging documents, Crispi “stated she was attempting to start a fire in the house to get back at (the ex-boyfriend).” (Salt Lake City’s Deseret News)

First Step to Gun Control

Kentucky Rep. Lesley Combs admitted accidentally firing her Ruger semiautomatic handgun in her Capitol office while unloading it. “I’m a gun owner. It happens,” she explained, adding that she intends to replace the weapon. “It’s an automatic. I need to stick with revolvers.” (Louisville’s WHAS-TV)

Power to the Power

Duke Energy anticipates hiking its rates to cover environmental cleanup in Carolina and Indiana, which Duke Chief Financial Officer Steve Young pointed out “have a strong record of allowing utilities to recover costs related to environmental compliance investments.” Cost recovery means charging customers rather than taking costs out of company profits, which would lower earnings for shareholders, among them Gov. Pat McCrory, who has received more than $1 million in campaign donations from the utility. (Raleigh’s WRAL-TV)

The Honeymoon Is Over

A flight from Atlanta to Costa Rica made an unscheduled stop in Grand Cayman to hand over a passenger who had gotten into a drunken argument with his bride on their honeymoon. Royal Cayman Islands Chief Inspector Raymond Christian said the groom was charged with being drunk and disorderly. The bride remained on the Delta Air Lines flight. (Reuters)

Second-Amendment Rites

Faced with declining memberships, Baptist churches in Kentucky hired Chuck McAlister, the former host of an outdoor TV show, to recruit new members by raffling off guns. “If simply offering them an opportunity to win a gun allows them to come into the doors of the church and to hear that the church has a message that’s relevant to their lives, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that,” he said. Tom Jackson, one of 1,300 people at a church dinner in Paducah raffling off 25 guns, said he wanted to win a gun because although he believes in turning the other cheek, if “somebody kicks your door down, means to hurt your wife, your kids, you — how do you turn the other cheek to that?” (NPR)

News and Blues is compiled from the nation’s press. To contribute, submit original clippings, citing date and source, to Roland Sweet in care of the Syracuse New Times.

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