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 V.16 No.14 | April 5 - 11, 2007 

Odds & Ends

Dateline: Gaza Strip--A woman who guards described as “strangely fat” was stopped and searched at the Gaza-Egypt border crossing last Thursday. Alerted by the woman’s unusual shape, a female border guard at the Rafah terminal searched the woman and found three crocodiles strapped to her waist. The animals, each about 20 inches in length, were concealed beneath a loose robe. Though it did not ultimately involve terrorism, the incident sparked a panic at the crossing. “The policewoman screamed and ran out of the room, and then women began screaming and panicking when they heard,” said Maria Telleria, a spokesperson for the European observers who run the crossing station. Still, “everybody was admiring a woman who is able to tie crocodiles to her body.” The animals, which were eventually returned to the Egyptian side of the border, were most likely intended for sale to Gaza’s small zoo or to private collectors.

Dateline: Michigan--If you’ve seen 15 million gallons of missing sewage, please call the Sand Lake water utility. This estimated amount of partially treated sewage water disappeared from a 250,000 square-foot storage lagoon, and officials don’t know where it went. Kent County utility operator Nathan Danenberg, who runs the sewage treatment system for Sand Lake, discovered a leak in the 8-foot-deep lagoon last Friday while taking samples. It wasn’t immediately clear when or how the leak took place. “I don’t know if maybe there are old mine shafts in the area,” Danenberg told The Grand Rapids Press. “It’s an odd case. A sinkhole gobbled up all the water and we don’t know where it went. ... It seems to have just gone down into the Earth.” Mike Bolf, drinking water district engineer for the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality, said the state would conduct tests on nearby municipal wells, which are downstream as groundwater flows. The wells are believed to be deep enough to be protected by a natural clay or shale wall. So far, there’s no sign of the missing toilet water. “We don’t smell anything and we don’t see anything,” said Danenberg.

Dateline: Maryland--A 45-year-old woman was saved from choking when her 2-year-old golden retriever, Toby, performed the Heimlich maneuver. Debbie Parkhurst of Calvert told the Cecil Whig she was eating an apple at her home last Friday when a piece lodged in her throat. She attempted to perform the Heimlich maneuver on herself but was unsuccessful. “The next thing I know, Toby’s up on his hind feet and he’s got his front paws on my shoulders,” said Parkhurst. “He pushed me to the ground, and once I was on my back, he began jumping up and down on my chest.” The piece of fruit was dislodged and Toby started licking her face to keep his owner from passing out. Afterward, Parkhurst had paw-shaped bruises on her chest, but was otherwise fine. According to reports, Toby also ate the offending piece of apple.

Dateline: Ohio--A man and a woman accused of bilking stores out of millions of dollars have been banned from the cafeteria of the Cleveland courthouse in which they are being tried--allegedly for stealing food. “If they do that in here, then what are they doing out there on bond?” said Richmond Height police Sgt. Chuck Duffy. Duffy said Joan Hall, 65, loaded a takeout lunch into a plastic bag and set it atop a newspaper rack near the checkout counter. Then her partner-in-crime, 75-year-old Roger Neff, moved the lunch to the top of a trash can. After waiting several minutes to make sure the coast was clear, the couple left with the bag of food. Judge Nancy Fuerst banned them from the cafeteria during the trial. “You bring your lunch,” she ordered. Prosecutors say Hall masterminded a scam involving department store returns, switched sales tags and phony identities. Neff, who prosecutors describe as Hall’s longtime boyfriend, is a codefendant in the case.

Dateline: Connecticut--A man claiming to be Vice President Dick Cheney led authorities on a high-speed chase through Stratford last Monday night. He eventually collided with a police patrol car before being shocked with a stun gun and arrested. As reported in the Connecticut Post, 42-year-old Stratford resident John Spernak claimed during his arrest to be the vice president as well as the husband of heiress Nicky Hilton, sister of celebrity Paris Hilton. Spernak was charged with attempted first-degree assault, engaging police in a pursuit, reckless driving, criminal mischief, interfering with police and being in a town park after dark. While in custody, police said, Spernak admitted he wasn’t Cheney, but rather Jaclyn Smith, former star of the ’70s TV series “Charlie’s Angels.” He was taken to Bridgeport Hospital for a psychiatric evaluation.

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

 
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