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Weird National Briefs (03/06/2019)

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Shell fame

KEY WEST, Fla. - A man who flies air ambulances for a Florida sheriff can also honk the 1958 song “Tequila” using a pink-lined conch shell.

David Masterson’s unique music skills earned him this year’s best honker among men in the Conch Shell Blowing Contest in Key West, Florida.

An aviation director for the Monroe County sheriff, Masterson said he began blowing the shell for fun when he lived on a boat.

Conch shells have been used as signaling devices in the Florida Keys for centuries. Native-born islanders are called Conchs, and the Keys are nicknamed the Conch Republic.

Judges evaluated more than 50 contestants from children to seniors on the quality, novelty, duration and loudness of their playing.

Another winning performance came from 6-year-old Audrey Van Aken, whose sturdy blast drew loud cheers.

TME – It’s OK to toot your own horn when it’s a shell.

A bridge too far

LAUSANNE, Switzerland - The World Bridge Federation says the world’s No. 1 bridge player has been suspended after failing a drug test.

The federation said on its website Friday that Geir Helgemo, who is Norwegian but represents Monaco in bridge events, tested positive for synthetic testosterone and female fertility drug clomifene at a World Bridge Series event in Orlando, Florida last September.

After accepting he had breached anti-doping rules, Helgemo was suspended by the WBF until Nov. 20. He also had all titles, medals and points from the 2018 World Bridge Series revoked.

Kari-Anne Opsal, president of the Norwegian Bridge Federation, said the drugs were “not performance enhancing.”

In a statement on the federation’s website, she said: “Geir Helgemo...has previously played for the Norwegian national team and is our biggest star. Many within the bridge community know Geir and respect him.

“It is his responsibility not to take substances that are on the doping list, even though in this instance they are not performance enhancing in bridge. I feel for Geir in this situation and hope he will come back stronger ... when his ban ends.”

The World Bridge Federation (WBF) is recognized by the International Olympic Committee and abides by World Anti-Doping Agency rules.

TME – Not the kind of trick they were expecting.

Not-so-great escape

CONCORD, N.H. - A New Hampshire man jailed on drug charges has pleaded guilty to trying to escape from an inmate transport van, phoning his girlfriend ahead that “something might fall out” for pickup, and offering to pay a fellow inmate to keep quiet about it.

Prosecutors said 54-year-old Brian Sanborn, of Franklin, was detained May 14, 2018, at the Strafford County House of Corrections. He had a May 15 federal court date.

Prosecutors said in a recorded phone call, Sanborn instructed his girlfriend to follow the van to and from jail because “something might fall out of that .... van and you might need to pick something up.”

Prosecutors said on his way back from court, Sanborn tried to pry open the door to the cage inside the van with a six-inch piece of metal. Sheriff’s deputies stopped him.

TME – Hard to believe they cracked his code.

Crab grab

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. - Alabama police say a dispute over crab legs at a dinner buffet ended in a brawl that left two people facing misdemeanor charges.

Huntsville police officer Gerald Johnson says he was eating at the Meteor Buffet restaurant when a fight broke out.

Johnson tells WHNT-TV that diners were using service tongs like fencing swords and plates were shattering, and a woman was beating a man. Johnson says diners had been waiting in line for crab legs for more than 10 minutes, and they lost their tempers once the food came out.

The station reports Chequita Jenkins is charged with assaulting John Chapman, who suffered a cut on his head. Chapman is charged with disorderly conduct.

Court records aren’t available to show whether either person has a lawyer.

TME – Nothing like a buffet melee.

Aloha halepaahao

WAILUKU, Hawaii - A Maui man convicted of breaking into a police station and setting off an alarm was sentenced to four years of probation.

The Maui News reports 53-year-old Paul Kossman was sentenced earlier this month after pleading no contest to second-degree burglary and rendering a false alarm.

Prosecutor Jeffery Temas says Kossman was inebriated when he crawled through a bathroom window of the Hana station and pulled an alarm in January 2018.

He says an off-duty police officer heard the alarm and discovered Kossman.

Kossman told the court that he did not intend to steal anything, but it was “something that happened that shouldn’t have.”

Kossman was also ordered to perform 200 hours of community service and write an apology letter to police in Hana.

TME – At least he cut out the middleman.

Go big or go home

PROVIDENCE, R.I. - Rhode Island police have arrested a man they say was driving under the influence when he struck more than 40 other vehicles.

Police say 45-year-old Christopher Paolissi, of Foster, was “zig-zagging” his pickup truck when he struck 41 vehicles in Providence on Tuesday afternoon.

Police say Paolissi was intoxicated, and he was driving about 15 mph when officers stopped him.

He was hospitalized with non-life-threatening injuries. No other injuries were reported.

Police Chief Hugh Clements says officers are compiling a “lengthy report” due to the number of vehicles hit.

Paolissi is facing multiple charges, including driving under the influence, reckless driving and failure to stop after an accident.

His case wasn’t listed in state records and it’s unclear if he has an attorney.

TME – On a positive note, it’s a new high score.

Bofa salsa

MARYVILLE, Tenn. - A Tennessee man was jailed on felony charges after appearing to dip his testicles into a container of salsa that a customer had ordered online.

The delivery driver allegedly recorded it and posted a video online, saying “This is what you get when you give an 89 cents tip for an almost 30-minute drive.”

News outlets report that the passenger, 31-year-old Howard Matthew Webb, was arrested last week and charged with adulteration of food.

Dinner Delivered said the food service has fired the driver and forwarded information about her to authorities as well.

Webb remains behind bars pending a March 12 hearing.

His arrest warrant says they picked up the food for delivery from a local Mexican restaurant. The company issued a refund for the tainted food.

TME – Do you ask them to “hold the nuts” or does that just invite more problems?

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