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News Quirks 

Curses, Foiled Again

Sheriff’s deputies investigating a convenience-store robbery in Niceville, Fla., arrested suspect Zachariah Dalton Howard, 22, after they spotted him at a nearby supermarket calling his mother for a ride home. (South Florida Sun-Sentinel)

Police searching for thieves who broke into a home in Gaithersburg, Md., and then stole the homeowners’ car for their getaway, spotted the vehicle at a nearby convenience store. The suspects were there because one of them, Marcus Lee, 20, stopped to use the bathroom, where he spent 11 minutes. “That 11-minute period is when the police come,” prosecutor Stephen Chaikin explained after Lee pleaded guilty. (The Washington Post)

First Things First

After a Seattle city bus hit Carl Gray, 32, shattering its windshield, the victim managed to get up and walk about a block with a bloodied head to a Starbucks and ordered a cup of coffee. Paramedics followed him and, before he could drink his brew, took him to the hospital. (Seattle Times)

Naming Rites

Washington state lawmakers are considering a proposal to allow private bidders to pay for the right to name publicly owned facilities, from government buildings to schools. “I’m trying to think out of the box and come up with some revenue for our local folks and for our state that isn’t another dollar out of taxpayers’ wallets,” state Rep. Jan Angel, who introduced the plan, said. “Nothing ventured, nothing gained.”

Naming rights are already common for sports venues, such as Sleep Train Arena in Sacramento, Calif., and Cleveland’s Quicken Loans Arena. And other states have approved similar measures. Virginia lawmakers, for example, last year OK’d selling naming rights to bridges and roads. Virginia also signed a $2 million-a-year deal granting GEICO exclusive naming rights to its 43 rest areas. In New York City, the British bank Barclays is paying $200,000 a year for the naming rights to a Brooklyn subway station. Angel’s plan would continue letting governments name memorials after notable people for free. It also bans obscene or offensive names, as well as the names of tobacco or cannabis companies. (Associated Press)

Bark Worse Than Bite

Hoping to thwart illegal logging in the Amazon, Brazil began fitting trees with wireless tracking devices that alert authorities when they are cut down and moved. The device, called Invisible Tracck, is the size of a deck of cards and powered by a battery that lasts a year. Coming within 20 miles of a cellular network activates its signal. (

Anti-Social Media

A 16-year-old girl in Monticello, Ind., drove 60 miles in a pickup truck to beat up a 17-year-old girl in LaPorte, Ind., who she said spread rumors about her on Facebook. The victim’s mother pulled the girls apart, and the Monticello girl left, but police arrested her later when they saw her return to the scene. (Associated Press)

Police accused Timothy Tucker and Shequita Cade of contributing to the delinquency of a minor after a YouTube video showed them driving their middle-school daughter to fight with a 14-year-old girl at a school bus stop in Tucker, Ga.  Taylor can be heard on the video encouraging his daughter to hit the victim while the two struggled on the ground and shouting at witnesses, “Nobody better try to jump in neither.” (Atlanta’s WSB-TV)

What Are the Odds?

Albanian-born actor Praq Rado, 31, was traveling by train to New York’s Hamptons International Film Festival because a film about his immigration journey, titled “Dreaming American,” had been chosen for screening. Rado escaped from Albania, entered America without papers and struggled to find work without a Social Security number before becoming an actor. Federal immigration agents, who’d been looking for Rado since he was ordered deported in 2007, arrested him aboard the train. (Easthampton Patch)

Breaking News

A month after the Social Security Administration reprimanded an employee for creating a “hostile work environment” by regularly passing gas at his office, the agency withdrew the action. Its Office of Disability Operations, which issued the reprimand to a 38-year-old man working at an agency office in Baltimore, had cited 60 documented instances of the worker passing gas in his office over a 12-week period, sometimes as often as nine times a day, according to a log the man’s supervisor kept to record his offenses. Even though the man provided proof that his condition was medical, his supervisor noted, “Nothing that you have submitted has indicated you would have uncontrollable flatulence. It is my belief that you can control this condition.” (The Washington Post)

Saving the Twitterverse

Since the Library of Congress began archiving Twitter messages in 2010, it has amassed more than 170 billion tweets. Library director of communications Gayle Osterberg said the volume of tweets it receives from Twitter has grown from 140 million a day last February to nearly half a billion a day in late 2012. The library is exploring ways to make its massive archive available to researchers. (Associated Press)

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Roland Sweet

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


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