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 V.15 No.50 | December 14 - 20, 2006 

Odds & Ends

Eric J. Garcia

Dateline: Tennessee--An American Airlines flight from Washington Reagan National Airport to Dallas/Fort Worth was grounded early last Monday due to severe flatulence. American flight 1053 was forced to make an emergency landing in Nashville after passengers reported smelling struck matches, said Lynne Lowrance, a spokesperson for Nashville International Airport. The plane landed safely. Fearing terrorist activity, the FBI, Transportation Safety Administration and airport authority responded to the emergency. The passengers and crew were removed from the plane along with the luggage and sent through security screenings once again. Bomb-sniffing dogs were brought onboard the aircraft and located some spent matches. The FBI questioned a passenger who admitted she struck the matches in an attempt to conceal a sudden attack of bodily odor. According to Lowrence, the woman lives near Dallas and has a medical condition. The flight eventually took off from Nashville, but the gassy woman was not allowed back on the plane. “American has banned her for a long time,” Lowrance said. While it is legal to bring as many as four books of paper safety matches onto an airplane, it is illegal to strike them.

Dateline: Florida--A Daytona Beach judge has rejected the plea of a teenage murderer who asked to have his 22-year prison sentence reduced because prison is “too hard.” Warren Messner and three other teens had pled guilty to beating a Holly Hill homeless man to death because they were bored. Although he was 15 at the time of the killing, Messner outweighed his victim, Michael Roberts, by 200 pounds. After his friends beat Roberts, Messner jumped on the man’s chest, crushing his ribcage. Asked during his trial if he felt bad for the killing, Messner replied, “Not really, no.” Messner actually wound up with the lightest sentence of the four boys involved. Teens Jeffrey Spurgeon, Justin Stearns and Christopher Scamahorn received 27 to 35 years. All four cut plea deals to avoid life in prison. After spending eight whole months in juvenile detention, however, Messner is ready to go home. Messner and his attorney argued last Monday that the teen has already learned his lesson and is ready to be released. “I want to be an inspirational speaker for troubled teens,” he told the court. “I can’t think of some reason to change the sentence. I’m going to deny the motion,” said Hon. Joseph Will. Messner’s mother told WFTV that the judge’s decision was “unfair” because her son is “locked in a cell all day.” The judge and state attorney both argued that being locked away is precisely the point of prison. Messner will now spend the next 22 years in prison without the chance of parole.

Dateline: North Carolina--A 4-year-old in a Power Rangers costume has saved his family from a pair of armed robbers. Police say two armed men approached Jennifer Long’s boyfriend and son outside their apartment in Durham. One of the robbers pushed the boy back into the apartment then forced Jennifer, Stevie, Stevie’s 5-year-old sister, a cousin and two others to the floor at gunpoint. Stevie sneaked out of the room and returned minutes later dressed as a Mighty Morphin Power Ranger. According to the News and Observer, Stevie shouted, “Get away from my family!” and swung a plastic sword at the villains. Relatives said the robbers immediately abandoned plans to take Stevie’s mother to an ATM to withdraw money and fled with credit cards, jewelry and cash. Despite the young lad’s heroic success, Stevie’s aunt, Heather Evans, said a counselor has suggested Stevie needs to improve his distinction between fantasy and reality. “He fully believed he morphed,” she added.

Dateline: North Carolina--Hatteras Island, long known for its shipwrecks, was awash in booty last week after a tractor-trailer-sized container filled with thousands of bags of Doritos ended up on shore. According to the Virginia-Pilot, following a storm in the Atlantic, the container drifted south for several days then veered landward at Diamond Shoals off Cape Point and came to rest in the wash south of Cape Hatteras Fishing Pier as the tide rolled in. Long before National Park Service rangers learned that the cargo container had beached, Hatteras Islanders were busy with their time-honored tradition of wreck salvage. A steady stream of locals stuffed large garbage bags with Cool Ranch, Nacho Cheese and Spicy Nacho Doritos. Most of the chips were still sealed and seawater-free. Jessica Maxfield, who is doing an internship with the National Park Service, grabbed a couple bags herself. “I was doing a bird survey,” she told NewsChannel 3. Her conclusion: “Gulls love Doritos.”

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

 
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