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May 15, 2013

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Being neighborly

SEATTLE - Sheriff's deputies say a man angry at his neighbors went on a rampage in a bulldozer on Washington's Olympic Peninsula, damaging four homes, knocking one off its foundation, and cutting power to thousands of people. 

Barry Alan Swegle was booked into the Clallam County Jail for investigation of malicious mischief following the incident Friday. A voice mail message left at a phone listing for the 51-year-old was not immediately returned. 

Sheriff's spokesman Jim Borte says investigators were told that Swegle and his neighbors had a long-running dispute, but it's not clear over what. The rampage knocked over a utility pole and left a pickup truck destroyed, and the downed power lines were preventing authorities from fully evaluating the damage to the homes. 

Keith Haynes lives near one of the damaged homes and told the Peninsula Daily News that the man 'just went nuts.' Haynes said a woman inside one of the homes escaped unharmed.

TME Maybe next time, they'll return his leaf blower when he asks. 

Not emu-sed

WALNUTPORT, Pa. - An eastern Pennsylvania man says when he looked out his kitchen window earlier this week, he saw what he first thought was a huge wild turkey. 

Robert Leseberg says he went outside his home in Walnutport, near Allentown, on Tuesday night to get a closer look. He says the bird lifted its head and was suddenly towering over the 6-foot-3 man. 

This was no wild turkey. 

It was an emu. The flightless birds are originally from Australia. 

Leseberg checked with animal control officers, police and the Lehigh Valley Zoo. There are some emu farms in the region, but so far no one has claimed this wayward bird. 

For now, the big bird is heading to an emu farm in the Poconos. 

TME We're pretty sure that it's an emu Terminator sent from the future to destroy us all.

On the catwalk

DURANGO, Colo. - A Durango area couple is giving up their fight to keep a 13-foot escape route for their cats outside their Colorado apartment. 

Martha Spence and her husband built the catwalk from a window to a nearby tree to allow their two cats to go outside from their second-floor unit whenever they wanted. The Durango Herald reported that they agreed to take it down Thursday at the request of the development's homeowners association. 

The couple had planned to appeal the board's request, but Spence said her husband wasn't able to take off work to pursue it. 

Neighbors objected to the look of the catwalk and also worried children would try to use it. In addition, the association says its regulations bar pets from roaming free in the development. 

TME Time for the kitty parachutes.

You're doing it wrong

SACRAMENTO, Calif. - A California woman has been arrested for investigation of battery after she allegedly slapped a sheriff's deputy because she wanted to go to jail in order to stop smoking. 

The Sacramento Bee reports 31-year-old Etta Mae Lopez smacked Sacramento County sheriff's Deputy Matt Campoy on Tuesday after he left the main jail at the end of his shift. Campoy tells the newspaper Lopez hit him and then told him the slap was intended to get his attention and hopefully help her kick her habit. Tobacco isn't allowed in jail. 

Authorities say Lopez waited all day for a uniformed deputy to come out to ensure she struck a law enforcement officer. 

She was booked for investigation of battery on a peace officer. No bail has been set. 

TME Logic and insanity two great tastes that taste great together.

Passing the smell test

GREAT FALLS, Mont. - Those scratch-and-sniff cards the energy company sends to customers to teach them to recognize the artificial smell added to natural gas? Turns out they work pretty well. 

Energy West general manager Nick Bohr tells the Great Falls Tribune that workers recently discarded several boxes of expired scratch-and-sniff cards in Great Falls. But when the garbage truck picked them up and compressed the load Bohr says 'it was the same as if they had scratched them.' 

The resulting odor prompted numerous false alarms and building evacuations as the garbage truck traveled through downtown Great Falls on Wednesday morning, leaving the smell in its trail. 

Bohr says the company apologizes for the disruption.

TME At least we know they work. 

Power corrupts

DRESDEN, Tenn. - This was no ordinary theft. 

A former McKenzie police chief is accused of stealing city property, including a tractor and two street sweepers. 

The Jackson Sun reports 64-year-old Bobby Pate was arrested Tuesday on theft and official misconduct charges. 

Pate was indicted after the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation searched his property and discovered missing items that included a John Deere Tractor, two street sweepers, a portable trestle hoist and two laptop computers. 

The items were valued at over $10,000 and went missing between 2010 and the end of 2012, while Pate served as chief. He retired in December. 

Pate is free on a $5,000 bond. A phone number listed for him was temporarily disconnected. 

He is scheduled to be in court on June 13. 

TME Who needs more than one street sweeper?

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