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January 2, 2013

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Grease is the word

HEMET, Calif. - Two men are accused of stealing thousands of dollars worth of used cooking grease from a Riverside County McDonald's.

The Riverside Press-Enterprise reports the owner staked out the McDonald's in Hemet because thieves had been targeting restaurants to steal grease for selling to recyclers.

Restaurant grease fetches a good price - 30 to 40 cents a pound - because it can be refined into biodiesel fuel.

At about 1:50 a.m. Friday, the owner called police as 22-year-old Noel Portillo of Compton and 24-year-old Ricardo Robles of Long Beach were allegedly stealing grease.

Police arrived to find the two men inside a pickup truck with the engine running and a large metal tank mounted in its bed.

After reviewing surveillance tape, the men were arrested and the truck was impounded.

TME Danny Zuko was unavailable for comment.

DUI irony

DORSET, Vt. - Vermont State Police say a Massachusetts man faces a drunken driving charge after driving onto the lawn of the historic Dorset home once owned by the co-founder of Alcoholics Anonymous.

Police say 55-year-old Donald Blood III of Marlboro, Mass., was ordered to appear in court in Bennington on Jan. 14.

Police say Blood thought he was driving into a parking lot, but actually it was the lawn of the Wilson House, built in 1852, the birthplace of AA co-founder Bill Wilson.

The Wilson House's website describes it as a 'place of sanctuary where people can come to give thanks to God for their new lives.'

It still hosts several AA meetings each week.

TME 'Hi, my name is Donald and I just drove onto your lawn.'

Stir crazy?

ST. GABRIEL, La. - Louisiana State Penitentiary Warden Burl Cain says he'd never heard of an inmate breaking out of jail just to seek a transfer to another prison, but that's what a New Orleans offender serving time for armed robbery attempted early Friday.

Cain tells The Advocate he received a call around 12:40 a.m. at his residence about a prison break at Elayn Hunt Correctional Center in St. Gabriel.

On the line? Joshua Kelly, the 38-year-old inmate who prison officials say overpowered a guard and stole an ambulance to escape from the Ascension Parish prison.

Cain says Kelly wanted to return to Angola, saying he feared for his life at Hunt.

Cain says he and Public Safety and Corrections Secretary Jimmy LeBlanc persuaded Kelly to pull over and surrender to officers.

TME In the guy's defense, it probably felt like an emergency.

Turtles all the way down

CLEMSON, S.C. - Clemson University student Nathan Weaver just wanted to put together a project to help figure out the best way to assist turtles in crossing the road.

But he also ended up with a peek into the dark souls of some human beings.

Weaver put realistic-looking rubber turtles, no bigger than a saucer, in the middle of a lane on a busy road near campus. Over the next hour, seven drivers intentionally ran over the turtle, and several more appeared to try to hit the defenseless animal, but missed.

Weaver was surprised, but seasoned researchers weren't. The number of box turtles is on a slow decline, with one prominent reason being the riskiness of crossing the road when the trip takes several minutes.

TME Somewhere, Leonardo, Raphael, Michelangelo and Donatello are plotting vengeance.

Call the election in the air

SEGUIN, Texas - The only thing separating two city council candidates near San Antonio is a coin flip.

Jeannette 'Jet' Crabb and Ben Amador were both running for city council in Seguin. They finished tied after a Dec. 18 runoff, 141-141. So city Mayor Don Keil decided the race Thursday by flipping a coin.

Crabb and Amador each received slips of paper _ one that said 'heads,' one with 'tails.' Then Keil threw a silver dollar in the air. It landed on the table as tails. Crabb won.

She was immediately sworn in to begin a four-year term.

The Texas Election Code allows ties to be settled by a 'casting of lots.'

TME Why not just lead off with the coin flip and save everyone a heap of trouble?

An imaginary marriage

REDLANDS, Calif. - After spending nearly a half-century as husband and wife, Bob and Norma Clark are finally married.

The couple from Redlands east of Los Angeles celebrated their 48th anniversary in August, and in November sought a copy of their marriage license for Social Security.

The Redlands Daily Facts reports that San Mateo County in Northern California could find no evidence the union was ever filed.

The Clarks' church had a record of the 1964 ceremony, and several of the original witnesses were about to arrive for Thanksgiving, so on Nov. 21 they made their marriage legitimate, obtaining their license at the San Bernardino County Hall of Records.

Bob Clark brought a bouquet for Norma, and at the urging of family and friends kissed the bride to seal the deal.

TME Better late than never.

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