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 V.23 No.9 | February 27 - March 5, 2014 

Odds & Ends

Dateline: Finland

Taking a cue from Rudolph and his light-up nose, Finnish reindeer herders have come up with a clever way to protect their herds at night. Anne Ollila of the Finnish Reindeer Herder’s Association says the antlers of 20 reindeer have been painted with various fluorescent dyes as part of an experiment to see how the animals react and how the paints hold up to the harsh Arctic climate. The hope is that the glow-in-the-dark antlers will prevent the thousands of wild caribou deaths caused by vehicle collisions at night. In the vast, deserted area of northern Finland known as Lapland, herders tend to as many as 200,000 free-roaming animals. In the past, reflectors and reflective tape have proven unsuccessful protection, as the reindeer are able to tear them off.

Dateline: Iowa

A warehouse employee lost his job and was denied unemployment benefits over a stuck candy bar. Last fall 27-year-old Robert McKevitt was working at Polaris Industries in Milford when he decided he needed a snack. So he went to the vending machine in the warehouse, inserted a dollar and punched the code for a delicious Twix bar. The candy got stuck on the machine’s spiral hook and hung in midair. “I was like, ‘Oh, man,’” McKevitt told the Des Moines Register. “So I put in another dollar, and then it wouldn’t do anything.” McKevitt banged and shook the machine, but the snack still wouldn’t drop. According to state unemployment records, McKevitt then drove an 8,000-pound forklift over and used it to raise the machine off the floor and drop itsix times. In the end he walked away with three candy bars. Five days later he was fired. The information came out in a Dec. 16 unemployment hearing, the outcome of which was only made public last month. McKevitt had applied for unemployment benefits following his firing, but was turned down. In denying McKevitt the benefits, a judge said the employee had a “purposeful disregard for his employer’s interests.” McKevitt told the Register that he did not pick up and drop the machine with a forklift. He said he shook it so hard it moved away from the wall, and he was only using the forklift to put it back into place. “That machine was trouble,” said McKevitt. “They fired me, and now I hear they have all new vending machines there.”

Dateline: Florida

A woman in Winter Haven gave a restaurant a simple choice: Give her free food or go to Hell. According to The Ledger newspaper, Ruthena Lewis, 44, took her mother, 78-year-old Willie Lewis, to eat at the A&G restaurant. When it came time to pay the $18.46 bill, Lewis’ credit card was declined. A&G cashier Crystal Henson told police that Lewis held the cancel button down when the charge was being processed. Lewis then gave Henson an ultimatum: If the meal was free, Henson would go straight to Heaven. If she insisted on running the card though, “She would go to Hell.” Lewis left the restaurant without paying. She left behind the business card of her church bishop, Joseph Lewis [no relation], telling restaurant employees to call him and he would cover the bill. Instead employees called the police. Lewis and her mother were arrested a short time later and charged with misdemeanor crimes. Lewis had $80 in her possession when she was arrested, according to the police report. Bishop Lewis did drop by later to pay the bill and to leave a tip. He asked restaurant owner George Paragios not to press charges against the women. “The law took her to jail, we didn’t,” waitress Natasha Anthony told BayNews9.com. Now members of Lewis’ church, the Church of God the Bible Way, are picketing the restaurant, urging patrons to stay away.

Dateline: California

An enterprising Girl Scout sold out her entire stock of cookies after setting up shop outside a San Francisco pot dispensary. On Monday, Feb. 17, 13-year-old Danielle Lei blew through 117 boxes of Girl Scout cookies at the Green Cross medical marijuana clinic. Lei’s mother accompanied her and asked the clinic for permission before setting up on the sidewalk outside. Clinic customers, clearly suffering from the munchies, snapped up dozens more boxes than Lei expected to sell at her normal spot in front of a Safeway grocery store. At one point during her 45-minute sell-a-thon, she actually had to call other Girl Scouts for “backup” boxes.

Dateline: Pennsylvania

Speaking of stoners: An act of charity may end up going wrong for one pot-addled donor. Sugarcreek Borough police were called in when workers at a Salvation Army store on Route 8 discovered a large bag of marijuana among some donated clothes. Police Chief Matt Carlson told the [Oil City] Derrick he suspects the owner of the drugs has now noticed their absence because the bag contained a “substantial quantity of marijuana.”

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

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