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News Quirks 

Curses, Foiled Again

After someone broke into a church in St. Charles, Mo., and stole an undetermined amount of ice cream from a freezer, police spotted Andrew Steven Jung, 24, three blocks away, with ice cream all over his face and clothing. Jung told officers he was an “ice cream junkie.” (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

A mother and daughter with a baby in a stroller tried to avoid paying full fare on the Philadelphia subway by sharing a day pass intended for only one person. They went to the 60th Street Station, where the cashier punched the pass and allowed the daughter to enter. The mother then went to the 56th Street Station and used the pass. When the two women met up at the next station, neither had the baby. According to transit official Heather Redfern, both women assumed when they split up that the other one had taken the child. The women notified transit police, who reunited them with the child and declined to cite the pair for violating the day-pass rule. (Philadelphia Daily News)

The Thrill Is Gone

Inspired by a YouTube video of thrill-seekers swinging through arch and canyon openings, Kyle Lee Stocking, 22, tried to swing from the top of Utah’s 140-foot-high Corona Arch. Stocking died, Grand County sheriff’s Lt. Kim Neal reported, because he made the rope too long, and when he “swung under the arch, he struck the ground.” (The Salt Lake Tribune)

Law Makers

Montréal police arrested some 300 people protesting a city law against demonstrating without first providing police an itinerary of the protest route. The police charged the demonstrators with violating the law they were protesting by failing to notify authorities of their route. (Canada’s QMI Agency)

Prodded by the meat and poultry industries, state legislators nationwide are introducing laws making it harder for animal-welfare advocates to investigate cruelty and food-safety cases. Measures in Indiana, Arkansas and Pennsylvania, for example, would outlaw videotaping agricultural operations. Iowa already made it illegal to deny belonging to an animal-welfare organization when applying for a farm job. Other bills are pending in California, Nebraska and Tennessee. The force behind this legislative agenda, whose purpose, Paul Shapiro, vice president of farm animal protection for the Humane Society of the United States, insisted, “is to prevent any pattern of abuse from being documented,” is the American Legislative Exchange Council. It labels those who interfere with animal operations “terrorists” and titled the California bill the “Animal and Ecological Terrorist Act,” although an ALEC official admitted “Freedom to Farm Act” would’ve sounded better. (Associated Press)

Lawmakers in Mississippi, the most obese state in the nation, overwhelmingly approved an “anti-Bloomberg bill,” which bans communities from requiring restaurants to post calorie counts on menus or limit portion sizes. State Sen. Tony Smith, who owns a chain of barbecue joints, said he introduced the measure because government has no business telling people what they cannot eat. “If I want fried fish,” he declared, “that’s my right.” (New York’s Daily News)

Larry Shandola, 62, a Canadian man serving a 31-year sentence in a Washington State prison for a 1995 murder, sued the victim’s widow, blaming her for persuading corrections officials to deny his transfer to a Canadian prison by placing him “in a false light.” Shandola is seeking $100,000 in damages from Paula Henry. Calling the suit a ploy to harass and torment Henry, her lawyer, John Ladenburg, said he doesn’t expect it to get very far in court but lamented, “He wins by costing her money.” (Canada’s National Post)

More Equal Than Others

Rich Russians hoping to avoid Moscow’s notorious traffic jams are paying upwards of $200 an hour to ride in emergency vehicles that use their sirens to scatter traffic in their path. The newspaper Izvestiya reported that when police stopped one of these “ambulance taxis” for violating traffic rules, they discovered “that the interior was fitted out like a high-class limousine with comfortable seats for transporting VIP passengers.” (Britain’s Daily Telegraph)

Mother of the Year

After Leticia Silva, 31, was jailed in Florida for drug possession and lost custody of her daughters, authorities said she mailed the girls, ages 7 and 9, a knife from jail with instructions to murder their paternal grandparents, with whom they live in Greenville, N.C. The grandmother found the knife under one of the girl’s pillows and took the girls to the Pitt County Sheriff’s Office, where they told investigators of their mother’s instructions. A friend, Mary Snell, said regaining custody of her daughters was Silva’s “one goal in life.” (Tampa Bay’s WFLA-TV)

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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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