News of the Weird by the Editors at Andrews McMeel Syndication

LEAD STORY -- Questionable Judgment

-- Ukraine International Airlines has banned a traveler from all future flights with the carrier after the unidentified woman opened an emergency door on a Boeing 737 and went for a walk on the wing as it was waiting at a gate at Boryspil International Airport in Kyiv. CNN reported the passenger had traveled from Antalya, Turkey, with her husband and children in the Aug. 31 incident, when other passengers heard her say she was "too hot" before she popped open the emergency exit and went outside. The airline criticized her for setting an inadequate "parental example" and threatened she may face "an exceptionally high financial penalty." Airport security and doctors on the scene determined she was "not under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs." [CNN, 9/4/2020]

-- A 51-year-old man from St. Cloud, Minnesota, was released from the Sherburne County Jail in Elk River on Sept. 12, but as he left the facility, he decided to take with him a DoorDash delivery that had been intended for a correctional officer working there. The Star News reported the officer contacted the former inmate by phone to inquire after his $29.13 order, and the man said he thought his family had sent it to him. He was cited for theft. [Star News, 9/17/2020]

Oops!

-- Officials in Dania Beach, Florida, recently upgraded signs welcoming visitors to their city, including a small one that has greeted drivers for years along Dania Beach Boulevard, but local activist Clive Taylor took exception, pointing out that the sign is actually in Hollywood, not Dania Beach. "The little sign was bad enough," Taylor, who is vice president of the Hollywood Historical Society, told the Sun Sentinel. "But to have Dania put up this mini-billboard with lights on it is wrong." Hollywood Mayor Josh Levy says he's confident the two towns can work together to resolve the issue. [Sun Sentinel, 9/17/2020]

-- An octogenarian in the village of Parcoul-Chenaud, France, set off a violent explosion in his attempt to kill an annoying fly, the BBC reported in early September. Not realizing a gas canister in his home was leaking, the man used an electric fly swatter to battle the insect and caused an explosion that destroyed his kitchen and damaged the roof of his home. While the man was mostly unharmed, he has had to move to a local campsite while his family makes repairs to the home. [BBC, 9/6/2020]

Chutzpah

Three unnamed Metro-North Railroad employees were suspended without pay on Sept. 24 for turning a storage room under New York City's Grand Central Terminal into a man cave, complete with a television, refrigerator, microwave and futon couch, according to the Metropolitan Transportation Authority. The Associated Press reported that investigators found the space after receiving an anonymous tip in February 2019 that the three -- a wireman, a carpenter foreman and an electrical foreman -- had built a secret room where they would "hang out and get drunk and party." [Associated Press, 9/24/2020]

Nature

Caesar, a 16-year-old alpaca at the Alaska Zoo in Anchorage, was killed on Sept. 20 by a wild brown bear that tunneled under a fence while the facility was closed then left. Caesar, who had lived at the zoo for 15 years, was "a crowd favorite," executive director Patrick Lampi told the Associated Press. The bear had been hanging around the zoo, knocking over trash cans and breaking locks, and was later euthanized when it returned. Caesar's companion alpaca, Fuzzy Charlie, escaped the attack and was unharmed. Lampi said a similar incident took place about 20 years ago; that bear was captured and relocated to Duluth, Minnesota. [Associated Press, 9/23/2020]

Collections

September 22 marked the 60th anniversary of the day 14-year-old Boy Scout Steve Jenne scored a special memento of then-Vice President Richard Nixon's campaign visit to Jenne's hometown of Sullivan, Illinois. Nixon took a bite of a buffalo barbecue sandwich that day, then set it down. "I looked around and thought, 'If no one else was going to take it, I am going to take it," Jenne told the Herald & Review, and the leftover has been in a glass jar in Jenne's freezer ever since. In 1988, word of the sandwich earned Jenne a spot on "The Tonight Show With Johnny Carson" and led his acquiring half-eaten items from Carson and fellow guest Steve Martin, as well as Tiny Tim and Henny Youngman. [Herald & Review, 9/23/2020]

Smooth Reaction

A 78-year-old Spanaway, Washington, woman was alerted by her barking dog on Sept. 20, and opened her door to find "a man," she told KIRO, standing in front of her. As "he turned and started to leave," the woman, identified as Sandy, said, "Oh, no, you don't," and picked up her shotgun and cocked it. The alleged intruder plopped down on her porch steps and the two waited for police to arrive. "You know, I've got grandchildren your age!" Sandy told him. Pierce County Sheriff's deputies took the man into custody, but Sandy didn't press charges. [KIRO, 9/22/2020]

Government in Action

The Opa-Locka (Florida) City Commission voted 4-1 on Sept. 9 to repeal a 13-year-old ordinance that made wearing saggy pants a crime, the Miami Herald reported. Around town, visitors can see signs reading, "No ifs, ands or butts ... It's the city law!" and showing two young men with low-riding waistbands, but Vice Mayor Chris Davis explained: "I felt it disproportionately affected a certain segment of our population, which is young African American men." The ACLU of Florida agreed. [Miami Herald, 9/13/2020]

Frontiers of Farming

Cockroach farms are not new in China, where the bugs have long been used in Chinese medicine, but a new facility near the eastern city of Jinan is gaining attention as a way to deal with food waste while producing organic protein supplements for animal feeds. In four industrial-sized hangars, Australia's ABC News reported, rows of shelves are filled with food waste collected from restaurants through an elaborate system of pipes. A moat filled with roach-eating fish surrounds each building to keep the roaches from escaping. "In total there are 1 billion cockroaches," farm manager Yin Diansong said. "Every day they can eat 50 tonnes of kitchen waste." Said project director Li Yanrong, "If we can farm cockroaches on a large scale, we can provide protein that benefits the entire ecological cycle." [ABC News, 9/19/2020]

Armed and Clumsy

A Pineville (Louisiana) police officer who reported he'd been "ambushed" on Sept. 20 has been accused of shooting himself instead, according to authorities. The Pineville Police Department said John Goulart Jr. originally claimed that he'd been shot once in the leg, and that a second shot had hit the rear door of his police car while he was at a shopping center. But Police Chief Don Weatherford told KALB: "(E)vidence gives you some pretty clear direction and it led us to reinterviewing Officer Goulart Jr. and he admitted at that point that he had not been truthful with us during the investigation." Goulart was charged with filing a false police report and malfeasance; he's also been placed on administrative leave. [KALB, 9/23/2020]

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