News Quirks | News Quirks | Seven Days | Vermont's Independent Voice

Published April 2, 2008 at 4:35 a.m.

Curses, Foiled Again Tennessee resident William K. Anderson, 51, tried to apply for welfare benefits in Lee County, Va., but was arrested after arousing suspicion by arriving in a 2004 H2 Hummer with Michigan plates. "We thought it was unusual that a high-dollar vehicle with out-of-state tags would be at the department of social services," County Sheriff Gary Parsons said. "So we ran the tag and found out that it was stolen."

* Charles Noah Chambers, 36, parked his Saab convertible outside the Anderson County, S.C., sheriff's office and went inside to demand $1991 that was seized during his arrest last year on drug charges. The request was rejected but prompted a suspicious sheriff's official to check the license number of the car Chambers drove off in. It was stolen, as deputies confirmed when, Lt. W. F. Looper reported, they saw Chambers put "a screwdriver into the ignition switch" to turn off the engine.

Slightest Provocation Thai authorities reported that Weenus Chumkamnerd, 52, shot and killed eight neighbors at a party in Songkhla Province who were singing the same karaoke song over and over: John Denver's "Country Roads." According to the London Telegraph, Weenus, a rubber tapper, said after his arrest he had "warned these people about their noisy karaoke parties" and threatened to shoot them "if I couldn't talk sense into them."

Failures of Success Dallas officials turned off one-fourth of the city's 62 traffic cameras intended to catch red-light runners because they worked so well that revenue from violations dropped below the cost of maintaining them. Zaida Basora, the city's assistant director of public works and transportation, said the turned-off cameras would remain in place so motorists won't know which ones no longer work.

Bobby Traps Shootings in England and Wales have held steady among the public but have soared among police officers, according to the Daily Mail, which reported nearly half of all injuries from police shootings result from officers shooting a colleague or themselves, most often from careless handling during firearms training and demonstrations.

Can You Hear Me Now? Authorities in Hayward, Calif., arrested John Triplette, 45, who they said made more than 27,000 emergency calls in nine months. The caller "completely overwhelmed our system" and responded to emergency operators with bodily noises, muttering and pressing beep tones.

* After Welsh authorities prosecuted Thelma Dennis, 50, 60 times in 24 years for making bogus emergency calls, she agreed to have electrodes taped to her fingers that left her screaming in pain every time she dialed the third "9" of the 999 emergency number. Even this deterrent failed, Cardiff Crown Court heard, after she was charged with calling police claiming that a bomb had been planted in a local supermarket.

* Police in Port St. Lucie, Fla., responded to an emergency call from a pay phone, only to find a homeless man who said he had nowhere to sleep and wanted to go to jail. The officer left, but the man called 911 again. This time, he was arrested for abusing 911.

Sub-Par for the Course While pro golfer Tripp Isenhour, 39, was taping an instructional video at Florida's Golf Club at Grand Cypress, a red-shouldered hawk calling from about 300 yards away interrupted the taping. Witnesses told the Orlando Sentinel the delay apparently upset Isenhour, who drove a golf cart closer to the hawk and spent 10 minutes hitting golf balls at it. After missing every shot, Isenhour returned to the set, but the bird flew closer and resumed screeching. Isenhour started hitting drives at the bird, perched 75 yards away in a pine tree. His 10th drive finally hit and killed the federally protected bird.

* Federal authorities accused William Lamar Stoner, 55, of illegally sneaking 350 Asian grass carp into ponds at several Texas golf courses. John Ferguson, general manager of the Quail Creek Golf Club in San Marcos, who paid Stoner 10 cents for every ball he retrieved from the club's six ponds by diving and raking through weeds and algae, told the Austin American-Statesman that Stoner added the banned carp, which aggressively devour marine vegetation, "for his ease in retrieving golf balls."

Squatters' Rites After receiving complaints about squat toilets at many of the 37 new and renovated venues for this summer's Beijing Olympics, organizers conceded it was too late to accommodate all 500,000 foreigners expected to attend and said they would concentrate on installing sit-down toilets for visiting athletes, journalists and VIPs. "Most of the Chinese people are used to the squat toilet, but nowadays more and more people demand sit-down toilets," said Yao Hui, deputy director of venue management. "However, it will take some time for this transition."

* Pam Babcock, 35, sat on the toilet in the mobile home she shared with her boyfriend for so long that her body stuck to the seat, according to authorities in Ness City, Kan., who responded to a call for help from boyfriend Kory McFarren, 36. "We pried the toilet seat off with a pry bar, and the seat went with her to the hospital," Ness County Sheriff Bryan Whipple said, indicating Babcock had a phobia about leaving one of the trailer's two bathrooms. McFarren said she might have stayed there for two years, during which time he brought her food, water and clean clothes. Judging by the woman's condition, which included open sores on her buttocks, Whipple said Babcock had probably been sitting on the toilet continually for at least a month.

Why They Call It Dope When a credit union employee in Bremerton, Wash., reported finding a bag of methamphetamine in a deposit envelope from an ATM, police contacted the 18-year-old account holder, who, according to court documents, admitted using meth and said she may have accidentally put the bag into the deposit envelope while reaching into her pants pocket for the money.