Curses, Foiled Again
A gunman demanded money at a Subway shop in Braidwood, Ill., only to be thwarted by a male employee who “threw a pot of soup at the suspect,” police Chief Rich Girot said. The suspect fled, empty-handed. (Chicago Sun-Times)
Police said Herbert C. Ridge, 38, siphoned gas from a car in Mesa, Ariz., but caught fire while fleeing and crashed his pickup truck into a neighboring house. A security camera just installed by the siphoned car’s owner, Mitch Drum, 26, photographed Ridge leaping from the driver’s seat of the pickup and rolling on the ground with his shirt engulfed in flames. “He had this manufactured siphoning system that he made himself, with a pump hooked up to it, to a battery,” Drum said. “Something must have sparked.” (ABC News)
Officials from two southern Virginia counties said a three-year battle with federal regulators has held up plans to lengthen the runway at Grundy Municipal Airport so it can accommodate corporate jets. The dispute centers on whether the upgrade is an airport project or a coal mine. The feds insist the runway project requires a mining permit because local authorities plan to sell any coal dug up during the expansion to help finance the $60 million upgrade. But attorneys advised local authorities that a municipality could not hold a mining permit. Officials maintain the upgrade is essential to promoting economic development in the poverty-stricken region. Donnie Rife, head of the Dickenson County Board of Supervisors, said the delay has cost an estimated $20 million because the price of coal has dropped during the three-year dispute. (The Washington Times)
When Joshua O’Gorman, 27, and Daniel Mansell, 33, appeared in a British court for sentencing after pleading guilty to attempted burglary, they asked the judge to take into account that the homeowner shot them, insisting the shooting injured and traumatized them in what their attorney described as akin to a “near-death experience.” Leicester crown court Judge Michael Pert was unmoved and sentenced them to four years in jail. “Being shot is not mitigation,” he declared. “If you burgle a house in the country where the householder owns a legally held shotgun, that is the chance you take. You cannot come to court and ask for a lighter sentence because of it.” (Britain’s The Guardian)
An unidentified tree trimmer was killed in Hollywood, Calif., after he was “physically trapped beneath massive palm fronds” 30 feet off the ground, authorities said. “Palm fronds like this,” Brian Humphrey of the Los Angeles Fire Department noted, “have been known to weigh as much as half a ton.” According to John Ball, a South Dakota State University forestry professor, the odds of tree workers being killed “are one in 3,000.” (Los Angeles Times)
Mensa Reject of the Week
Authorities accused Dakoda Garren, 19, of stealing an antique coin collection, estimated to be worth $100,000, from a home in Woodland, Wash., and then spending some of the rare coins at face value to buy pizza and movie tickets. (Vancouver’s The Daily News)
Police who stopped a car driving erratically in Naples, Fla., observed a bag of marijuana in the back seat and arrested passenger Vida Golac, 18, who was sitting nearest it but denied ownership. Two friends told the officer it wasn’t theirs and were allowed to leave. When jail deputies strip-searched Golac, they found more marijuana in her genitals. She insisted it wasn’t hers but that she was hiding it to keep her friends from getting in trouble. (Naples Daily News)
People for the Peopleless
Dozens of schools have begun offering programs to graduate unmanned systems operators for when the Federal Aviation Administration begins integrating drones into the nation’s crowded airspace in 2015 by granting personal and commercial licenses to people who meet pilot training and medical requirements.
Retired Air Force colonel and commercial airline pilot Jerry LeMieux opened Unmanned Vehicle University, the world’s first school dedicated solely to educating drone operators. UVU, which received its international accreditation in July, offers only online courses.
The University of North Dakota began offering its own degree program in the field of unmanned systems through the school’s Center for Unmanned Aircraft Systems Research.
The University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s Matt Waite founded the first “drone journalism lab” to explore the opportunities and ethics of using drones to gather news. (The Washington Times)
Joseph M. Lamport Jr., the owner of Easy Auto Cars in Helena, Mont., returned from vacation to find his entire inventory missing. He contacted a car dealer in Blackfoot, Idaho, with whom he’d previously done business, and found that Easy Auto’s sole employee, Robert Alfred McGinnis, 38, had sold the dealer all 25 or 26 cars for about $100,000 while Lamport was away. (Helena’s Independent Record)
Chicken Little Was Right
Jennifer Cording was giving horseback riding lessons to a group of teenagers while their parents watched near Assawoman, Va., when a foot-long piece of raw chicken hit one of the students on the head. “Three objects fell out of the sky in front of us,” Cording said, “two larger and one quite small.” Avian expert Bryan D. Watts of the College of William and Mary said the chicken parts likely came from high-flying seagulls, “which we know carry chicken parts.” (Salisbury, Md.’s The Daily Times)
Business Plan of the Week
Operating under bankruptcy protection, American Airlines paid $40,000— a year’s salary— to each of the 2,205 flight attendants who accepted its buyout offers. Then the airline posted job openings for 1,500 new flight attendants, the first time in 11 years it has hired flight attendants. (Associated Press)
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 New Times.