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News Quirks 

Curses, Foiled Again

Looking to steal copper wiring to sell as scrap, Dalton Newhouse and Charles Raymond Norris, both 22, used rifles to shoot down high-tension power lines in West Virginia’s Beury Mountain Wildlife Management Area. Newhouse was electrocuted when he touched a live cable on the ground, according to Fayette County deputies and National Park Service rangers, who found his body entangled in downed lines. (Charleston Daily Mail)

When deputies signaled a weaving vehicle to pull over in Pinellas County, Fla., the driver, later identified as Bryan Zuniga, 20, fled on foot. After kicking a hole in a vinyl fence behind a water-treatment plant, he was attacked by an alligator, which bit his face and arm. Pinellas authorities charged Zuniga with breaking or injuring fences, fleeing and eluding, and driving with a suspended or revoked license. (Tampa Bay Times)

Heck of a Job, Fugate

To evaluate the impact of natural disasters, the Federal Emergency Management Agency uses the “Waffle House Index.” The informal index, instituted by FEMA head W. Craig Fugate, has three levels. If the local Waffle House is up and running, serving a full menu, a disaster is classified as green. If it is running with an emergency generator and serving only a limited menu, its status is yellow. If it’s closed, badly damaged or totally destroyed, it’s a red. Fugate chose Waffle House because the chain has a large number of branches in tornado-prone areas and a robust emergency management plan. Even though the tornado that hit Moore, Okla., closed the suburb’s only Waffle House, FEMA classified it as yellow because “we are hoping to get a generator,” Waffle House official Kelly Thrasher said the day after the tornado hit, and “serve a limited menu, maybe a full one.” (Britain’s The Guardian)

Unclear on the Concept

After a man in Springfield, Mo., called 911 to complain about his Jimmy Johns sandwich, authorities noted the same man has made similar calls for non-emergency issues 77 times since 2010. “We have a few callers like that,” Assistant 911 Emergency Communications Director J.R. Webb said, citing one asking how to spell “Wichita,” another requesting underwear and a man who said he needed a woman because he had taken a Viagra pill, but his girlfriend canceled their date. (The Springfield News-Leader)

Police reported that Jarvis Sutton, 34, admitting calling 911 in St. Petersburg, Fla., approximately 80 times in one evening “because he ‘wanted Kool-Aid, burgers and weed to be delivered to him.’” Instead, he was arrested. (Tampa Bay Times)

STRONG>What’ll You Have?

The price of lowbrow beers has been climbing at U.S. bars and restaurants, according to a study by Massachusetts-based research firm Restaurant Sciences, whose president said the leading cause is hipsters ordering Pabst Blue Ribbon. “It has become quite fashionable,” Chuck Ellis said, noting that the price of expensive craft beers has also climbed, but at only half the rate of sub-premium beers, “specifically PBR.” (Los Angeles Times)

Homeland Insecurity

Eugenio Pedraza, 49, the former head of the Department of Homeland Security’s Office of the inspector General in McAlllen, Texas, was indicated in a scheme with DHS agent Marco Rodriguez to falsify investigative documents to disguise a lack of progress by their office. (Associated Press)

Weekend Worriers

Even though Father’s Day and Mother’s Day fall on Sunday, Astral Drive Elementary School in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, announced it would no longer celebrate the occasions so children who are part of non-traditional families won’t feel left out. Instead, students were asked to write the names of all the people who supported them in their lives on a large tree hung in the school gym. (Canada’s CTV News)

Slightest Provocations

Minheng He, 18, a student at a British boarding school in Loddon, Norfolk, was sentenced to four years in jail for stabbing a fellow student who refused his request to borrow a bottle of soy sauce. (Britain’s Daily Mail)

Authorities accused Barry Swegle, 51, of using a bulldozer to destroy three houses, damage another home, and crush two sheds, a pickup truck, lawn mower and other property in Clallam County, Wash., because he was upset that a neighbor’s fence made it difficult to maneuver his bulldozer and other heavy equipment he owns. (Port Angeles’ Peninsula Daily News)

Close Shave

After an unidentified man called 911 in Largo, Fla., to report an explosion, he told responders he suffered injuries because he wanted a hot shave and heated a can of shaving cream on the kitchen stove. The can blew up, sending aluminum shards at his face. “Not a good idea, in my estimation,” Largo Fire Division Chief Dave Mixson said. (Tampa Bay Times)

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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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