Nation/World

Freaky Friday news: A wee bit of trouble at reservoir

People compete in the Tuff Shed Coffin Races, part of Nederland's annual Frozen Dead Guy Days festival, in 2006. (AP/Sammy Dallal)
People compete in the Tuff Shed Coffin Races, part of Nederland's annual Frozen Dead Guy Days festival, in 2006. (AP/Sammy Dallal)

Unusual news nuggets from around the globe:

PORTLAND, Ore. — The city of Portland was forced to temporarily take a key water supply off line after a 21-year-old man caught on video admitted urinating in a city reservoir. The Oregonian reports that Portland police responded early Wednesday but did not cite the man or his friends. Video surveillance of the Mt. Tabor reservoir and police and Portland Water Bureau reports will be submitted to the Multnomah County District Attorney’s Office for possible criminal charges. City officials said about 7.8 million gallons of drinking water will be discarded because of the incident at a cost of about $36,000. Covering Portland’s open-air reservoirs has been a politically charged topic in recent years and the city Water Bureau is working to comply with federal regulations.

Colorado community wants to sell Dead Guy Days

BOULDER, Colo. — The Nederland Area Chamber of Commerce in Colorado is offering to sell the rights to a celebration of a frozen dead guy. Bredo Morstoel’s corpse has been packed in dry ice in a shed at the mountain town since 1993. He died in 1989 at age 89 and his Norwegian family preserved his body in hopes technology will be developed to bring him back to life. The 10-year-old festival attracted 15,000 people in March. It features a parade of hearses, frozen salmon tossing and coffin races. Interim chamber president Blue Hessner says the chamber wants to sell rights to the event and concentrate on business development. According to the Boulder Daily Camera, the event has become too expensive and the chamber believes an event company could do a better job.

Oregon officer named Byrd rescues young hawk

PORTLAND, Ore. — It’s the kind of story that creates its own headline — Byrd Rescues Hawk. Oregon’s KGW-TV reports that Portland Police Bureau officer Cage Byrd — his real name — spotted a young red-tailed hawk standing outside a downtown hair salon on Tuesday. The raptor chick appeared to be injured, so Byrd grabbed some towels and a box from a nearby hotel and took the hawk to a veterinary hospital. The bird was later taken to the Audubon Society, which says the hawk probably fell from a nest near the KGW Audubon Raptor Cam. The remote camera records the activity of a raptor family and is shown on a website that has become popular. One of the three chicks sustained a leg injury last week.

Colorado balloon boy parents extend bids for balloon

FORT COLLINS, Colo. — The former Colorado couple who told authorities their son floated away in a silver helium balloon re-opened the auction for the balloon because of low and fraudulent bids. The auction website said Richard and Mayumi Heene extended the auction until today. The Heenes announced the auction June 1 and suggested a bid of $1 million. Their attorney says all proceeds would benefit earthquake and tsunami recovery in Japan. The delay was reported in The Coloradoan. Authorities chased the UFO-shaped balloon in October 2009 but the 6-year-old boy wasn’t inside. He was later found at home and authorities accused the Heenes of staging a hoax to promote possible reality TV shows. Both parents served time in jail and the family later moved to Bradenton, Fla.

School district turns lawn care over to sheep

CARLISLE, Pa. — A central Pennsylvania school has a woolly plan to keep its grass neatly trimmed. The Carlisle Area School District says it can save up to $15,000 a year by turning over some landscaping chores to sheep. The Patriot-News of Harrisburg reports the district is using the sheep to keep the grass near its solar panels neatly trimmed. The sheep nibble grass in the morning and take refuge in the shade of the panels in the afternoon. With the food already on hand, the district need only supply the sheep with water. A middle school assistant principal is providing the sheep. Eric Sands says he’s still trying to figure out exactly how many sheep he needs to use to keep the area clear.

Cops: Masked men hold up doughnut shop, get dough

HYANNIS, Mass. — Police say masked and armed men in Cape Cod thought they were nabbing a bag of dough. They did — just not the kind they wanted. Three Hyannis men are facing armed robbery while masked charges after police say they robbed a Dunkin’ Donuts with knives and a hatchet on Wednesday and only ended up with a bag of doughnuts. According to police, the men demanded a paper bag that was in one of the worker’s purses, mistakenly believing she was carrying cash from the day’s receipts. But police say the men never looked inside. The men were captured on video and police were able to track them down on Thursday. Arrested were 19-year-old Nicholas Mercurio, 21-year-old Lukas Peterson and 20-year-old Charles Iliffe. It was unclear if any had attorneys.

Angry crows dive-bomb officers in Everett

EVERETT, Wash. — Police here have found themselves in a flap with some unusual suspects: an angry flock of birds. Crows have been attacking officers in the parking lot of the Everett Police Department’s north precinct station. They’ve been swooping down and dive-bombing the officers as they walk to and from their cars. Lt. Bob Johns says he recently was flanked by the aggressive birds and “got zinged.” He says, “They’re like velociraptors.” The Daily Herald reports one officer tried to use his siren to scare away the crows. The birds responded by decorating his car with droppings. State Fish and Wildlife Department biologist Ruth Milner says the birds are simply protecting baby crows that have been kicked out of the nest and are learning to fly. She says adult crows are quite protective of their young. City spokeswoman Kate Reardon says police and other city employees who have been attacked have agreed to let the crows be and wait out the aggression.

Boa constrictor: Not an enthusiastic camping buddy

ADDISON TOWNSHIP, Mich. — A man has discovered that a boa constrictor is not a willing camping companion after his 5-foot-long pet escaped as they vacationed in southeast Michigan. The man alerted officials that the snake slithered out of his pop-up camper June 9 at Addison Oaks County Park. Oakland County Parks and Recreation executive officer Dan Stencil tells the Oakland Press of Pontiac that the snake is young and doesn’t pose a threat to humans — “just small animals and so on.” Stencil says the man has been cited for violating park rules. Stencil says the snake might have slithered into a crevice in the camper, but that herpetologists are scouring the 1,140-acre park 30 miles north of Detroit in hopes of finding it before crowds descend for a fireworks display July 1.

‘Deer with wings’ causes power outage in Montana

HELENA, Mont. — A Montana resident says an energy company has identified the cause of a brief power outage as “deer with wings.” Lee Bridges says she was outside with her dogs around the time the power went out when a NorthWestern Energy truck pulled up, giving her a chance to ask the driver what caused the problem. She says he pointed up and said, “Apparently, we’ve got deer with wings.” Bridges looked up and saw a dead fawn on a power line. It’s unlikely the animal had an accident while trying to make like distant-cousin Rudolph. Bridges suspects that an eagle dropped its prey and couldn’t retrieve it. The lineman who removed the carcass from the power line said he’d never seen anything like it.



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