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Weird National Briefs - October 2, 2013

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Birthday suit Halloween

SINKING SPRING, Pa - Naked and scared has turned into semi-clothed and kind of spooked.

A Halloween attraction's heavily publicized plan to allow guests to go through one of its haunted houses in the buff was revised Thursday amid opposition from local officials in southeastern Pennsylvania.

Shocktoberfest, a popular seasonal attraction outside Reading, promoted the 'Naked and Scared Challenge' as a way for thrill-seekers 18 and over to, um, expose their fears and phobias by wandering through a haunted house completely nude.

But owner Pat Konopelski said officials in nearby Spring Township and Sinking Spring borough told him they weren't comfortable with it. So, for now, he has agreed to require guests to wear underwear.

'We didn't really feel a battle would have been fruitful or help any of the parties involved,' he said.

Konopelski, who launched Shockertoberfest about two decades ago and has seen it grow into one of Pennsylvania's largest Halloween attractions, said he was inspired by cable TV's 'Naked and Afraid,' in which two strangers are dropped into a challenging environment without clothing, food or water. He said that by allowing guests to disrobe, 'they'll be very, very vulnerable,' thus heightening the fear factor.

'Every year we keep thinking we gotta go bigger, we gotta go better, we gotta impress them more. Rather than going bigger better, I could now scare you with a feather,' he said.

TME Wasn't this the plot to one of the 'Nightmare on Elm Street' sequels?

Crying fowl

MADISON, Wis. - A Wisconsin lawmaker is introducing a bill - no pun intended - that would legalize duck races.

Well, not real ducks but the plastic ones with numbers on the bottom. Nonprofit organizations commonly race the little plastic ducks as fundraisers. Participants usually buy a raffle ticket corresponding with a duck's number.

The first to float across the finish line wins.

State Rep. Andre Jacque circulated a proposal Thursday to legalize the races. He says the village of Mishicot was warned by the Wisconsin Department of Justice that its annual rubber duck race amounts to illegal gambling.

Jacque's bill creates an exemption for duck races, similar to laws in Minnesota and Michigan.

Rubber duck races in Wisconsin include the 'Ducktona 500' in Sheboygan Falls and the 'Lucky Ducky Derby' in Menomonee Falls.

TME But really, who gives a duck?

Wonka wonkiness

LONDON - Two men have been sentenced in a British court for attacking a man while they were dressed as Oompa Loompas.

Louis Gelinas and Matthew Wright pleaded guilty to 'affray' - or disturbing the peace - at an earlier hearing for their role in the attack in December 2012 that left a 28-year-old man with cuts and bruises.

Prosecutor Stephen Spence noted it was ironic the two were dressed as 'peaceable characters' employed by Willy Wonka 'to keep them away from trouble' in the novel 'Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.'

Spence said 'far from keeping out of trouble' the pair - both 20 - got into an abusive altercation.

Gelinas was sentenced Wednesday to 240 hours of community work and Wright was sentenced to 10 months in a young offenders' institute.

TME Times are tough in the candy industry.

Drunk and dogging it

CRANBERRY, Pa. - A western Pennsylvania man has been charged with inciting Chaos.

That's the name of a police dog officers say was taunted by 26-year-old James Paul Andrews, of Cranberry Township, after the man was stopped at a drunken-driving checkpoint about 2:40 a.m. Sept. 15.

Online court records don't list an attorney for Andrews who was allegedly 'barking, hissing and growling' at the dog, according to the K-9's handler, Evan City police Sgt. Don Myers.

The Butler Eagle reports Cranberry Township police filed the charge on Monday - which is a felony carrying up to seven years in prison - along with drunken driving and other charges.

Township Sgt. Chuck Mascellino says Myers and Chaos were assisting with the checkpoint when Andrews allegedly became irritated and began barking at the dog.

TME Don't worry his bark is worse than his bite.

Grin and bear it?

JUNEAU, Alaska - If only all unwelcome bar guests were this obliging.

A black bear walked into the bar at the Alaskan Hotel in downtown Juneau on Monday night.

Bartender Ariel Svetlik-McCarthy says she freaked out and yelled, 'No bear! Get out! No! You can't be in here!'

The bear complied, leaving the bar within seconds.

State biologist Ryan Scott says it's rare for black bears to go inside Juneau businesses, but they have wandered inside homes before.

He tells KTOO the staff did a great job, and it was good news the bear left.

State wildlife officials have killed two nuisance bears in Juneau this summer.

TME Great joke, but the punchline could use some work.

Raising a stink

BUFFALO, N.Y. - Residents of a Buffalo, N.Y., neighborhood plagued by skunk odors now know what caused the stink: Trapped critters that were shot and stored at a shuttered police station.

The Buffalo News reports that the city's public works commissioner confirmed Monday that humanely trapped skunks have been taken to an old police station in South Buffalo, where they're shot and stored in an outdoor freezer until they can be incinerated.

Residents say they complained about the smell months ago but were told by city officials that skunks weren't being killed inside the building. Later, they were told only a few skunks were killed there by lethal injection.

One neighborhood leader has dubbed the community scandal 'Skunkgate.'

City officials say they're looking for new locations for dispatching the nuisance skunks.

TME It's sad when local government can't pass the smell test.

Last modified on Wednesday, 09 April 2014 19:05

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