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Weird National Briefs - December 11th, 2013

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Feed for speed

LINCOLN, Neb. - University of Nebraska-Lincoln students are building cars for an upcoming competition - and then they have to eat them.

The Incredible, Edible Vehicle Competition will take place Tuesday in the Great Plains Room of the Nebraska East Union from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m.

Students are required to make cars out of food, and nothing else. Teams will roll their cars down a sloped track to see which one travels farthest while staying in one piece. They also have to make a poster explaining how they created the car.

The students are from an introductory class on biological systems and agricultural engineering.

The food used includes vegetables, sausage, cheese and candy. This year's competition limits each vehicle to 1,300 calories.

TME It's like a Soapbox Derby - if soap was delicious.

Tanks, but no tanks

GOLD BEACH, Ore. - Sometimes an owner's manual is not enough.

Oregon State Police say that's what a 58-year-old man learned when he tried to drive a 50-ton battle tank up a steep grade near the coastal town of Gold Beach.

The Oregonian reports that the 1969 Chieftain had been purchased by a local resident, but a truck driver transporting the tank was unable to climb the grade. So he unloaded it at a turnout along U.S. Highway 101.

The owner's caretaker, Jeffrey Glossop of Pistol River, decided he could get the tank up the hill.

State Police Lt. Gregg Hastings notes that Glossop had the operator's manual.

But Hastings says the tank slipped out of gear and rolled back down across the busy highway, crashing through a guardrail.

Glossop gave it another try, and the tank it rolled backward again through another guardrail and down an embankment.

Glossop was cited for reckless driving and first-degree criminal mischief.

Hastings says the tank is fine.

TME 'Can you drive this tank?' 'Sure, man!' Get it? Sure, man? Sherman? We'll see ourselves out.


GETTYSBURG, Pa. - Police in Pennsylvania are investigating a complaint concerning a ghost hunt that went bust after a police officer mistakenly thought it was a burglary in progress.

The Gettysburg Times reported Tuesday that the Thanksgiving night ghost tour ended with two tourists and their guide being detained at gunpoint.

A patrolman passing a closed store in Gettysburg says he saw flashlights inside, so he went in and handcuffed and searched the three ghost hunters.

Police called the owner, who confirmed the tour operator had permission to use the allegedly haunted Civil War-era building. The first Union general killed in the Battle of Gettysburg was brought to the building after being fatally wounded.

The owner of the Victorian-style photography studio that occupies the building and permitted the tour has declined to comment.

TME Who ya gonna call? The cops, apparently.

Hot pursuit

BOISE, Idaho - A suspected purse thief was arrested in Boise after a stolen bag was thrown out of a car window in front of a parked police car.

The Idaho Statesman reports the officer expected the driver to stop and retrieve the bag, but the vehicle continued down the street.

The officer picked up the purse and pulled over a vehicle driven by 22-year-old Donald Deshaun White of Boise early Saturday.

Officers contacted the owner, who said the purse had been stolen at a bar. Police say several items the victim said had been inside the purse were found in White's possession.

White made an initial appearance on felony grand theft on Monday. His bail was set at $15,000 and the judge issued an order appointing him a public defender.

TME Who would have thought such a thoughtful, well-executed plan might fail?

Reptile dysfunction

LEVITTOWN, Pa. - Price of a baby boa constrictor: $300. Service bill for dismantling the dashboard of a 2005 Ford F-150 to retrieve a baby boa constrictor: About $1,300 before discount.

The story about how a baby boa got stuck inside the dash of a pickup truck: Priceless.

In hindsight, maybe taking his 3-foot-long pet snake with him to the pet shop to pick up her dinner wasn't a good idea.

But 18-year-old Luke Stackhouse said he often takes Dabby, who is 6 months old, on short road trips. He turns on the defroster and she makes herself at home on the dashboard, Stackhouse said.

'She likes to curl up where the heat is,' the Langhorne teen explained.

Stackhouse said he never had any problems until Wednesday evening while he was driving to the pet store to pick up mice for Dabby.

Then he noticed that half of her body also had disappeared. Somehow, Dabby managed to slither into an opening between the dashboard and the windshield, Stackhouse said. He still has no idea how that happened since the crack is so small he couldn't fit his finger in it.

Around 8 a.m., he decided to call in the professionals. He took his car to the John Kennedy Ford dealership in Lower Southampton, where he had bought it earlier this year.

Service manager Jim Mullen is used to more mundane work orders, like oil changes or state inspections. Removing a snake stuck inside a pickup's cab - that was a groundbreaker.

While an employee initially quoted the service bill cost at $1,300, Mullen said the dealership gave the teen a break, charging him a deep discount of $500.32.

TME We doubt that this was covered by the warranty.

Short and sweet and Santa

BELLINGHAM, Wash. - Police say a car prowler suspect in Bellingham nearly got away by boarding a bus.

The Bellingham Herald reports the 18-year-old suspect made it easy for officers to spot him last weekend by wearing a red and white Santa hat.

TME Brilliant escape plan *and* master of disguise? Good thing this supervillain is off the streets.

Last modified on Wednesday, 09 April 2014 19:04


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