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 V.18 No.40 | October 1 - 7, 2009 

Odds & Ends

Odds and Ends

Dateline: England—A Jedi Church elder (well, he’s 23) is considering bringing legal action against the U.K. supermarket chain Tesco on the basis of religious discrimination. Daniel Jones from Holyhead in North Wales claims the Tesco store in Bangor victimized his beliefs when it asked him to remove his hood for security reason. Jones, who founded the International Church of Jediism, told the Daily Post, “It states in our Jedi doctrine that I can wear headwear.” Jones went on to clarify the Star Wars philosophy on head covering: “You have the choice of wearing headwear in your home or at work, but you have to wear a cover for your head when you are in public.” Jones, who works in Bangor, had gone to the store to buy something to eat during his lunch break. Jones, who was wearing his traditional Jedi robes at the time, was told by store employees to take his hood off or leave. “They said, ‘Take it off,’ and I said, ‘No, its part of my religion. It’s part of my religious right.’ I gave them a Jedi Church business card,” Jones explained. A Tesco spokesperson responded to Jones’ complaint and schooled him on nerd trivia as well, saying, “Jedis are very welcome in our stores, although we would ask them to remove their hoods. Obi-Wan Kenobi, Yoda and Luke Skywalker all appeared hoodless without ever going over to the Dark Side, and we are only aware of the Emperor as one who never removed his hood.”

Dateline: Scotland—The Aberdeen City Council has sent a £200 ($320) bill for road repairs to 47-year-old motorcyclist Moray Ferguson after his bike struck a stray sheep that had wandered into his path on the unclassified Cuminestown to Fyvie Road. Mr. Ferguson was thrown from the back of his Honda Fireblade motorbike on July 4 of this year and suffered a broken hip socket, pelvis and collarbone, along with seven cracked ribs and a collapsed lung. While Ferguson was lying on the rural road bleeding, the Honda burst into flames and—according to the city council—melted the road surface, leaving it with a “bubbly” texture. After five weeks of hospital treatment, the father of two returned home, where he was shocked to find he had been mailed an invoice to cover the cost of repairing the road surface. “I didn’t know there was going to be a stray sheep on that road,” Ferguson told the BBC. “The accident wasn’t my fault.” A council spokesperson told the Telegraph newspaper it was “standard procedure” to charge people involved in accidents for damaging its roads.

Dateline: Massachusetts—A former postal service employee has pleaded guilty to stealing more than 30,000 DVDs that passed through a Springfield post office. Federal prosecutors say the movie rental company Netflix alerted post office officials about the suspiciously high number of DVDs disappearing from the area. At the height of the crime spree, upward of 100 DVDs per week were vanishing. Myles Weathers, an employee of the post office, admitted to taking the DVDs for more than a year beginning in January of 2007. According to the Springfield Republican, Weathers was arrested in February of 2008 after investigators filmed him removing DVDs from packages and slipping them into his backpack. Weathers is slated for sentencing on Dec. 23 and faces between 10 and 16 months in prison and restitution costs of about $38,000.

Dateline: South Carolina—If you’re thinking about committing a crime in Spartanburg County, be sure to bring your jogging shoes. The mayor of Wellford in northwestern South Carolina has banned her small-town police force from chasing suspects on foot after an officer was hurt running after a man. Mayor Sallie Peake admitted at a recent press conference that she issued the order in August after the city had to pay for an officer who missed work after chasing a “guy who had a piece of crack on him.” Since then, Peake has had to defend her controversial written order, which states that she does “not want anyone chasing suspects whatsoever.” In a poor piece of timing, the no foot-chase order comes after two town-issued police cars were totaled in less than a month.

Dateline: California—A man who admitted to scattering some 3,000 golf balls throughout Joshua Tree National Monument over the course of a year in order to “honor deceased golfers” will now have to explain his tribute to a federal magistrate. Douglas Jones, 57, was cited by park rangers for abandoning property, littering and feeding wildlife. In addition to hurling thousands of golf balls from his car, Jones also scattered a few tennis balls and left fruit and vegetables along park roads. Rangers spent 370 hours and an estimated $9,000 cleaning up the mess. Rangers finally caught Jones in the act last month. At the time, he told rangers he threw the balls to honor deceased golfers. The food, he said, was for stranded hikers.

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

 

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