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Weird National Briefs (11/22/2017)

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Going ape

BOSTON - A Boston zoo is holding a farewell party for a beloved gorilla that’s heading to another zoo in New Orleans to start his own family.

Officials at the Franklin Park Zoo on Saturday will be celebrating Okpara, a 24-year-old male Western lowland gorilla affectionately called “Okie.” He will soon be heading to the Audubon Zoo in Louisiana.

The Boston zoo is inviting patrons to sign a farewell card, enjoy free cake and learn about gorilla conservation.

Okie’s move is part of the zoo’s participation in the national Gorilla Species Survival Plan, an inter-zoo program meant to ensure survival of the species.

Western lowland gorillas are considered critically endangered in the wild. They’re found in Cameroon, Gabon, Equatorial Guinea, Republic of Congo, Angola, Central African Republic and Nigeria.

The names of the air crew were not released.

TME – Here’s hoping he finds the gorilla his dreams.

The Not-So-Great Train Robbery

PHOENIX - A Phoenix man was close to turning a locomotive into his own runaway train.

Police say 20-year-old Julio Rodriguez was arrested earlier this month after trying to steal a train from a rail yard just south of downtown Phoenix.

Union Pacific Railroad workers say they were alarmed when they heard the train horn Nov. 8 and went to investigate.

They discovered Rodriguez, who was actually released from jail earlier that day, sitting in the engineer’s seat.

Employees removed him and found he had moved levers and pushed buttons.

They say he was one pedal away from actually moving the train.

According to court documents, Rodriguez admitted to trying to steal the train.

He faces charges of theft of means of transportation and burglary.

TME – We assume he was high on cocaine.

Pee-pee pilot

SPOKANE, Wash. - Residents of the town of Okanogan, Washington, got quite an air show courtesy of the U.S. Navy.

Officials for Naval Air Station Whidbey Island say one of their planes created sky writings in the shape of male genitals in the skies over the rural community on Thursday.

Many residents spotted the contrails in the clear blue skies above the central Washington town.

KREM-TV of Spokane, Washington, says officials for Whidbey Island issued a statement saying: “The Navy holds its aircrew to the highest standards and we find this absolutely unacceptable, of zero training value and we are holding the crew accountable.”

The Federal Aviation Administration says it doesn’t plan to take any action because the act did not pose a safety risk and the agency cannot police morality.

TME – It’s a bird, it’s a plane, it’s a … oh dear.

Dance distraction

HOUSTON - A man who led police on a nearly 20-mile chase through Houston was taken into custody only after dancing for a time once he stepped out of his car.

The unidentified suspect came to a stop early Thursday before striking spike strips police had laid across Interstate 45.

He eventually complied with police orders to step out of his car but rather than lay on the ground, the man began a dance with arms above his head. The episode concluded when a police dog attacked him.

Police Lt. Larry Crowson says officers were concerned the man might try to flee into traffic, so they unleashed the dog.

Crowson says investigators will determine whether the man was under the influence.

The suspect has been charged with evading arrest.

TME – Everyone’s a critic.

Drive-thru disruption

COLUMBIA, Md. - A suspect has surrendered in a McDonald’s break-in in which a woman squeezed her way through a drive-thru window.

Police said in a statement that 27-year-old Jessica Marie Cross of Springdale, Maryland, turned herself in to officers Thursday in Maryland’s Howard County. She is charged with burglary and theft.

Widely seen surveillance video of the Nov. 5 burglary shows a woman worming into a McDonald’s in Columbia, Maryland, through the unlocked window. It also shows her helping herself to a soft drink and making off with a box of items.

Police say Cross stole $1,400 in cash, a purse, food and Happy Meal toys. Investigators say Cross is seen on video attempting to remove her fingerprints and disable the surveillance system.

Online court records don’t list a lawyer for Cross.

TME – From take-out to taken in.

Democracy in action

BOLTON, Conn. - An election for the governing board of a small Connecticut town has been decided by a coin toss.

The Journal-Inquirer reports that Republican Michael Eremita on Tuesday kept his seat on Bolton’s five-member Board of Selectmen with a coin-toss win over Democratic challenger Kim Miller.

Both received 718 votes in last week’s election.

Under the town charter, tied elections can be decided by a special election or a coin toss. Eremita and Miller agreed on the latter because a special election could have cost up to $3,000.

Eremita, Miller, and Town Clerk Elizabeth Waters all flipped coins. Eremita won because he and Waters both tossed tails. Miller came up heads.

Eremita’s victory gave the board in the town of about 5,000 residents, located 10 miles east of Hartford, a 3-2 Republican advantage.

TME – The tiebreaker-breaker is rock-paper-scissors.

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