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News Quirks (4/30/14) 

Curses, Foiled Again

Authorities in Orange County, Calif., identified Franc Cano, 27, and Steven Dean Gordon, 45, as suspected serial killers because the two paroled sex offenders were wearing GPS trackers that placed them at the scene of four murders. "That was one of the investigative tools we used to put the case together," Anaheim Police Chief Raul Quezada said. (Associated Press)

Michael Briggs, 38, was convicted of murdering an 82-year-old retired nun in Albany, N.Y., based on fingerprints found at the scene after police Sgt. Darryl Mallard noticed the toilet seat had been left up in the bathroom. Since the victim lived alone, Mallard guessed the killer was a man who had used the toilet. Fingerprints from the toilet's handle matched those of Briggs, who was on parole for robbery. (Albany's Times Union)

Odorific Nuptials

A sewage treatment plant in Washington state is offering its facilities for weddings, touting its full catering kitchen, audiovisual equipment, dance floor and ample parking. The cost is $2,000 for eight hours. Susan Tallarico, director of King County's Brightwater Wastewater Treatment Center, explained that receptions would take place next to where raw sewage is processed but insisted there's no odor because the process is contained. (Seattle Times)

Open-Door Policy

Officials in Vancouver, British Columbia, changed its building code to ban doorknobs on all new buildings. Instead, doors are required to have handles, making them more accessible to the elderly and disabled. Critics of the new rule note that handles also make doors easier for bears to open. In fact, knob advocates note that Pitkin County, Colo., has banned door levers on buildings specifically to prevent bears from entering buildings. Meanwhile, officials in Halifax and Pickering, east of Toronto, are asking their provincial governments to follow Vancouver's example. (The Economist)

Slightest Provocation

Police arrested Charmelle Henry, 45, for threatening two workers at a store in Midland, Texas, after she paid 75 cents for a corn dog but objected because it had been microwaved. She flashed a knife and demanded a second corn dog uncooked. (Associated Press)

Startling Move

The Missouri Department of Transportation announced plans to deploy "acoustical weapons" to slow down speeders. The agency said that "directed-sound communication devices," used in Afghanistan and against Occupy Wall Street protestors, will be set up near road construction sites and will blast sound of up to 153 decibels directly at vehicles exceeding the posted speed limit. (St. Louis American)

When Guns Are Outlawed

On trial in Salt Lake City, Utah, for robbery and assault, Siale Angilau, 25, objected to the testimony of one witness by grabbing a pen, rushing the witness and lunging at him. A U.S. marshal at the federal courthouse opened fire, shooting Angilau in the chest several times. He died at a hospital. (Associated Press)

School Daze

Ray Moore, a candidate for lieutenant governor in South Carolina, said he favors replacing public schools with church-run schools because "we don't see anything in the Bible about state education." Moore said that if enough Christian families withdrew their children from public schools, which he calls "the Pharaoh's schools," and educate them at home or enroll them in religious schools, states would be compelled to hand over control of education to churches, families and private associations — "the way it was," Moore declared, "for the first 200 years of American history." (The Raw Story)

From Bad to Worse

After Jerry D. Harlow, 47, reported that someone in a white vehicle stopped at his house in Richwood, W.Va., and shot him, police concluded that Harlow "shot himself in an attempt to avoid possible jail time for previously committed criminal activity." Charges of being a felon in possession of a firearm and providing false information to police were added to his criminal activity. (Beckley's Register-Herald)

Supply-and-Demand Follies

Hoping to resolve a nationwide condom shortage, Cuban health officials approved the sale of more than a million condoms that are past their expiration dates and ordered pharmacy workers to explain to buyers that the condoms are good and simply have the wrong expiration dates. The Communist Party newspaper Vanguardia reported that officials noticed erroneous expiration dates on the prophylactics imported from China and ordered them repackaged with the correct dates. But the state-run enterprise in charge of repackaging doesn't have enough workers to handle the job, so the Public Health Ministry authorized their sale as is, noting the shelf life of condoms is very long. (Miami Herald)

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About The Author

Roland Sweet

Bio:
Roland Sweet is the author of the syndicated column "News Quirks," which appears weekly in Seven Days.

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