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News/Opinion
‹‹ V.14 No.45 | November 10 - 16, 2005

Odds & Ends

By Devin D. O'Leary
Scott Rickson

Dateline: Philippines—The environmental organization Greenpeace announced last Tuesday that it would pay nearly $7,000 in damages after its flagship, the Rainbow Warrior II, smashed into a coral reef in the Tubbataha National Marine Park. Greenpeace officials said the incident at the United Nations world heritage site was “very regrettable,” but laid part of the blame on inaccurate maritime charts. Officials at the marine park assessed the area of damaged reef at 113 square yards and valued it at 384,000 pesos. The Rainbow Warrior II's visit to the reefs in the Sulu Sea was part of a four-month tour to Australia, China, the Philippines and Thailand to raise local awareness about global warming. The ship suffered no serious damage.

Dateline: Japan—A motorist in the city of Shizuoka managed to successfully dodge a cat in the road, swerving around the feline and plowing into a line of 36 nursery school students and the teacher looking after them. Japan Today reported that five of the children were injured seriously in the accident which occurred on a two-lane road around 1:10 p.m. last Thursday. Police arrested the driver, 59-year-old Akira Yano, on suspicion of inflicting injuries caused by negligence. But the cat was fine.

Dateline: West Virginia—A helpful motorist had a run-in with a demon after stopping to help a vampire. The unidentified motorist was flagged down by Angela Caplinger of Kingwood after she got into an argument with her husband at a Halloween costume party. She was wearing a vampire costume and her husband, 32-year-old Roy Wade Caplinger, was dressed as a demon. According to State Police Trooper Joe Portaro, Mrs. Caplinger asked the motorist to take her to the sheriff's department. As she got into the stranger's car, Roy Caplinger allegedly leaped onto the vehicle's hood. “Imagine you're sitting in this dark roadway, you have a hysterical woman beside you, and the devil jumps on your hood,” Portaro told reporters. The motorist stepped on the gas, causing the vehicle to speed off and Mr. Caplinger to tumble onto the road. Portaro later found Mr. Caplinger walking along the side of the road and arrested him for first-offense driving under the influence and second-offense domestic battery. Caplinger was treated and released from Preston Memorial Hospital, then taken to Tygart Valley Regional jail and booked. Caplinger was still wearing his costume, but officers did remove his devil horns before taking his booking photo.

Dateline: Delaware—A woman apparently picked the wrong time of year to commit suicide. According to state police, the 42-year-old woman is believed to have used a rope to hang herself across the street from some homes on a moderately busy road in Federica late last month. The body, suspended about 15 feet above the ground, could be easily seen from passing vehicles. State police spokesperson Jeff Oldman told reporters that neighbors noticed the body at breakfast time, but dismissed it as a holiday prank. Police were not called to the scene until later that afternoon. “They thought it was a Halloween decoration,” Fay Glanden, wife of Mayor William Glanden, told the News Journal of Wilmington.

Dateline: Kansas—The former owner of a bar has been sentenced to nearly four years in prison for killing a woman with one of his cocktails. Billy Scott, 34, was convicted of involuntary manslaughter last month after serving one of his infamous “Stoplight Challenge” drinks to 31-year-old Juanita Goodpasture. The $15 red, yellow and green concoction is so potent that people who bought it were given their money back and a free T-shirt if they could remain coherent 30 minutes after consuming it. Goodpasture had a blood alcohol content of 0.43 when she was found dead at her home after drinking at Scott's bar in July of last year.

Dateline: Texas—Now may be a good time to rethink that whole “baptism” idea. Rev. Kyle Lake of the University Baptist Church in Waco was electrocuted last Sunday in front of 800 churchgoers as he stepped into his church's baptism tank. The 33-year-old pastor had stepped into the waist-deep baptistery and reached for a nearby microphone. According to witnesses, pastors at University Baptist Church routinely use a microphone during baptisms. Immediately after the incident, Lake was rushed to Hillcrest Baptist Medical Center where he was pronounced dead. Fortunately, the woman who was being baptized had not yet entered the tank and was unharmed. Lake had been at the church for nine years, the last seven as a pastor. He is survived by his wife, Jennifer, and 5-year-old daughter and two 3-year-old sons.

Compiled by Devin D. O'Leary. E-mail your weird news to devin@alibi.com.