Unusual news nuggets from around the globe:
Colorado says state champion goat failed drug test
PUEBLO, Colo. — Colorado officials have disqualified the grand champion goat from this year’s State Fair because they say it tested positive for an unapproved drug. The Pueblo Chieftain reported that a second goat entered by another child from the same family also was disqualified for the same drug. Susan Weinroth of Sedalia says the family got a letter from the attorney general’s office saying her family’s goats tested positive for a feed additive approved for swine but not goats. She suspects the food may have been tampered with and says the family reported their suspicions to officials. She says the family will appeal. Disqualification means her daughter and son can’t collect their earnings from the sale of the goats, $5,500 for the champion and $1,300 for the other.
Animal shelter calls mechanic for cat stuck in van
HILLIARD, Ohio — A mechanic was the one doing the surgery at an Ohio animal facility when a woman drove in with a cat stuck behind her minivan’s dashboard. WBNS-TV reports the mechanic had to take apart the dash during a three-hour rescue operation in the Columbus suburb of Hilliard. Driver Nehal Dhruve says she hit the cat with her van and decided to take it to the local humane society. The brown and black cat wouldn’t stay on the van’s seat but instead hopped down and climbed up under the dashboard. Mechanic Daryl McKay cut his hands trying to free the feline, so an animal control staffer with smaller hands took over and pulled it out. Dhruve says she now wants to adopt the cat.
Family lost in Mass. corn maze calls 911 for help
DANVERS, Mass. — Authorities in Massachusetts say a family that got lost in a seven-acre corn maze called 911 for help, apparently taking advantage of the police department’s motto that says “We Want To Be Bothered.” The maze at Connors Farm in Danvers has pathways totaling seven-miles long and can take up to an hour to navigate. A police officer and his dog entered the maze with a farm manager on Columbus Day to search for the disoriented father, mother and two children, including a three-weeks-old infant. The family didn’t realize they had almost made their way out and were just 25 feet from the street. It took the search party about 10 minutes to find the family. They were helped by a police dispatcher who stayed on the phone with the caller and asked the couple to yell for help to enable those looking for them to identify their location. “Never again!” the woman is heard telling the dispatcher on police tapes. “We thought this would be fun, instead it’s a nightmare.”
Police: NM woman put ad on Craigslist to buy pot
ROSWELL, N.M. — A New Mexico woman faces charges after police say she put an ad on Craigslist looking to buy drugs. Roswell police arrested Anamicka Dave, 29, this week after officers posing as sellers arranged to meet her through text messages. Dave’s ad on Craigslist’s “casual encounters” section said she was new to town and “looking for Mary Jane,” KOB-TV reported. Roswell Police Sgt. Ty Sharpe said the ad was so blatant, he had to make sure it wasn’t posted by another undercover officer. “I was really surprised that someone would actually put on there they were looking for weed — an actually illegal product — to the fact that I called my boss to make sure it wasn’t one of our guys trying to do a reverse sting,” Sharpe told the station. Police met the Albuquerque woman in a parking lot and then arrested her.
Trap planned for wayward western Pa. gator
SLICKVILLE, Pa. — Zoo officials plan to set up a trap in hopes of capturing an alligator that’s been spotted on the shores of a Pittsburgh-area reservoir. Officials from the Pittsburgh Zoo visited Beaver Run Reservoir in Slickville in hopes of spotting the reptile. Zoo reptile curator Henry Kacprzyk says he’s confident the wire trap will catch the alligator, which officials believe was a pet that someone turned loose. The alligator was first spotted about a month ago. Officials scrapped a plan to let it succumb to the cold weather after public outcry. The Municipal Authority of Westmoreland County reservoir has about 25 miles of shore line. Kacprzyk says the trap will be set up on a sunny spot near where the alligator was last seen.
Oops! Clerk sends newspaper request to fix ticket
BELLEVILLE, Ill. — A records clerk for an Illinois sheriff’s office admits she goofed when she mistakenly faxed a request to have a deputy’s son’s speeding ticket fixed to the local newspaper. Joann Reed tried to use a St. Clair County Sheriff’s Department fax machine to send a copy of the ticket issued by Centreville police to that village’s attorney, only to accidentally fire off the fax to the Belleville News-Democrat newsroom. “Dismiss this case,” read a handwritten note accompanying the three-page message signed by Reed. “The guy is the son of one of our deputies.” “Guilty. Period,” Reed later told a News-Democrat reporter after being questioned about the fax. But she insisted she falsely suggested the ticketed motorist was the son of a deputy but actually a college student she was trying to help out. She said she figured the misrepresentation would help get the ticket with a $175 fine tossed. The News-Democrat reported otherwise, saying reporters discovered the Aug. 18 ticket for going 23 miles per hour over the speed limit really was issued to a deputy’s son.
Hardware chain offers Halloween ’zombie defense’
LINCOLN, Neb. — Hardware store manager Mike Dowling wants to be clear: His shovels might slow an attacking zombie, but you’ll to need something else to put the final nail in the creature’s coffin. “I wouldn’t say it’s for killing zombies,” the veteran Omaha store manager said. “But it’s helpful for cleaning up if you ever have to.” In a pop-culture world of zombie marches, video games and television shows, one regional hardware chain has taken the novel approach of actively marketing power tools and garden implements as protection against the undead. And not to leave out the walking dead, Westlake Ace Hardware’s online “Zombie Preparedness Center” has a “Me zombie” section touting bolts and fasteners for broken bones, glue and caulk for peeling skin, and deodorizers to freshen up decaying flesh. Lose a limb? Try duct tape!
Phone linked to Facebook leads to burglary suspect
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — A New Mexico man is facing burglary charges after authorities say he broke into an Albuquerque-area home then left behind a cell phone linked to his Facebook profile. KOB-TV reports that Bernalillo County sheriff’s deputies used the Facebook app to find and arrest 24-year-old Oscar Martinez last week. Deputies say they found his cell phone at the scene of the break-in. The criminal complaint says a family interrupted the burglary when they came home and found Martinez, who fired six shots from a BB gun at them as he fled. He is facing charges including aggravated burglary with a deadly weapon and violation of his parole. It was unclear if Martinez has hired an attorney.
No turkeys fall on Arkansas festival this year
YELLVILLE, Ark. — Turns out turkeys don’t fly. The Baxter Bulletin reports that attendees at the Turkey Trot festival in Yellville were disappointed when no turkeys dropped from planes. The turkey drop is a mainstay of the event in northern Arkansas, though organizers don’t sanction it. Supporters say the turkeys can fly just enough to descend safely, but animal-rights advocates call it cruel. The People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals posted a $5,000 bounty for information leading to an arrest. The Federal Aviation Administration said any pilots dropping turkeys could lose their licenses. People at the festival wore “I am the Phantom Pilot” T-shirts, and at least one sign offered a $10,000 reward for the arrest of the PETA employee who came up with the $5,000 bounty.