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Weird National Briefs (06/08/2022)

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Dog gone …

An Iditarod sled dog was found safe after disappearing from a checkpoint in the race three months ago and covering nearly 150 miles, the Iditarod Trail Committee said Saturday.

Musher Sebastien Dos Santos Borges of France was picking Leon up and returning with him to France, the trail committee said in a statement.

Leon went missing in March after what the trail committee said was his “escape” from the Ruby checkpoint. In May, residents of the Alaska city of McGrath, over 120 miles south of the checkpoint, reported to Race Director Mark Nordman that they’d seen Leon frequently near a cabin.

The resident of the cabin and another musher left food for Leon in the hopes of catching him, according to the trail committee. He was captured early Saturday morning and was safe, alert and “understandably skinny but seemingly healthy,” said Iditarod spokesperson Shannon Markley.

Leon was expected to see a veterinarian in the coming days and needs a health certificate before he can fly back to France, Markley said.

The nearly 1,000-mile (1,609-kilometer) race across Alaska began March 6 just north of Anchorage. The route took mushers along Alaska’s untamed and unforgiving wilderness, including two mountain ranges, the frozen Yukon River and Bering Sea ice along the state’s western coastline. Brent Sass won the race March 15 when he crossed under the famed burled arch finish line in Nome.

On March 12, a dozen dogs had arrived with Dos Santos Borges in Ruby, a checkpoint just under 500 miles from the start of the race.

Dos Santos Borges left Ruby on March 13 with 11 dogs, and scratched days later with nine dogs after the checkpoint in White Mountain, located just under 900 miles (1,448 kilometers) into the race.

TME - …and dog back.

Wheels up

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Federal authorities say a man has been arrested in Charlotte, North Carolina, after he was stopped in the city’s airport with more than 23 pounds (more than 10 kilograms) of cocaine concealed in the seat cushions of a motorized wheelchair.

U. S. Customs and Border Protection officers encountered the traveler as he was arriving at Charlotte Douglas International Airport from the Dominican Republic this week, according to a Friday news release.

“His answers didn’t match up. His physical purported handicap did not match up. That was a tell-tale sign that there was something suspicious,” Mike Prado, a Homeland Security Investigations deputy special agent, told WSOC-TV.

The four packages containing cocaine were discovered within the seat cushions and had an estimated street value of $378,000, according to the news release.

The 22-year-old man was charged with trafficking in cocaine. Officials say he was a lawful, permanent U.S. resident.

TME – Amazing that such a cunning plan could fail.

Sonic snake

BRUNSWICK, Ga. (AP) — Workers cooking burgers and tater tots in a Sonic fast-food kitchen fled after discovering an intruder hiding behind the deep fryer.

Brunswick police Lt. Matthew Wilson found employees of the Sonic drive-in huddled in the parking lot when he arrived to investigate last Saturday. On the phone they had described the culprit as brown with diamonds on its back.

“When I saw it, I could tell it was just a ball python and not a rattlesnake,” Wilson told The Brunswick News.

He not only removed the large, non-venomous snake, but also found it a new home with a friend who has a large terrarium and a fondness for snakes.

Wilson says the python likely slipped into the Sonic’s kitchen on May 21 through an open back door, finding a cozy spot for its cold-blooded body behind the hot fryer.

Police don’t know where the snake came from, though Wilson says it had likely been a pet that got turned loose by its owner.

Eammon Leonard agreed. He’s an invasive species biologist with the Georgia Department of Natural Resources. Leonard said snakes are often an impulse buy and owners find themselves having second thoughts as their scaly pets grow larger.

“It could be somebody just didn’t think through the consequences of a large snake as a pet,” Leonard said. “Some people have regrets later on and just release things. It is definitely irresponsible.”

TME – This whole secret menu thing is getting out of hand.

Let them eat cake!

PARIS (AP) — A man seemingly disguised as an old woman in a wheelchair threw a piece of cake at the glass protecting the Mona Lisa at the Louvre Museum and shouted at people to think of planet Earth.

The Paris prosecutor’s office said Monday that the 36-year-old man was detained following Sunday’s incident and sent to a police psychiatric unit. An investigation has been opened into the damage of cultural artifacts.

Videos posted on social media showed a young man in a wig and lipstick who had arrived in a wheelchair. The man, whose identity was unknown, was also seen throwing roses in the museum gallery to slack-jawed guests.

The cake attack left a conspicuous white creamy smear on the glass but the famous work by Leonardo da Vinci wasn’t damaged.

Security guards were filmed escorting the wig-wearing man away as he called out to the surprised visitors in the gallery: “Think of the Earth! There are people who are destroying the Earth! Think about it. Artists tell you: think of the Earth. That’s why I did this.”

Guards were then filmed cleaning the cake from the glass. A Louvre statement confirmed the attack on the artwork involving a “patisserie.”

The 16th-century Renaissance masterpiece has seen a lot in its over-500 years in existence.

The painting was stolen in 1911 by a museum employee, an event which increased the painting’s international fame. It was also damaged in an acid attack perpetrated by a vandal in the 1950s, and has since been kept behind glass.

In 2009, a Russian woman who was angry at not being able to get French citizenship threw a ceramic cup at it, smashing the cup but not harming the glass or the painting.

TME – Everyone’s a critic.

Continuing edu-cat-ion?

PESCADERO, Calif. (AP) — A quick-thinking custodian safely confined a curious cougar in an empty classroom after it entered a Northern California high school Wednesday morning, authorities said.

The custodian was opening Pescadero High for the school day when the juvenile mountain lion was spotted, said Detective Javier Acosta with the San Mateo County Sheriff’s Office. No students or teachers were on campus at the time, Acosta said.

“The mountain lion casually walked through campus and decided to go into an English classroom,” he said. “The custodian acted quickly and managed to shut the door behind it.”

Acosta said the animal, estimated to be about 40 pounds (18 kilos), appeared “lost and scared.”

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife tranquilized the cat and sent it to the Oakland Zoo for examination.

The underweight male was estimated to be 4 to 6 months old and had a fractured tooth that will need to be extracted before the cat can be released back into the wild, KTVU-TV reported.

Pescadero is a small coastal community about 35 miles (56 kilometers) south of San Francisco.

TME – Someone better give that custodian a raise.

Last modified on Wednesday, 08 June 2022 04:12

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