Unusual news nuggets from around the globe:
ABINGTON, Mass. — The chairman of the school committee in Abington, Mass., is apologizing for a magic trick he performed before a televised meeting in which he appeared to tear the bra off a fellow committee member through her clothes. The trick was performed by Russell Fitzgerald, an amateur magician known to open meetings with a little sleight of hand. It was met with stunned silence. The Enterprise of Brockton reports that Fitzgerald issued a written apology. He says he is sorry for the embarrassment he caused committee member Ellen Killian and his unwitting accomplice, teacher Steve Shannon. He also says he will no longer perform tricks before meetings. Killian says she was shocked. The teachers’ union says in a statement that Shannon was unaware of the trick Fitzgerald planned.
Savannah, Ga., bans bra display cancer campaign
SAVANNAH, Ga. — Officials in Savannah say they do not want bras displayed on a city street — even if the goal is to raise breast cancer awareness. City Manager Rochelle Small-Toney told council members that officials weighed the campaign with “the appropriateness of hanging underwear across one of our main streets.” The Savannah Morning News reports that local radio stations wanted residents to donate bras that would be strung across Broughton Street at four major intersections. Officials say a local car dealer had agreed to donate $1 for each bra up to $5,000. Caroline Keller, the board president of the local chapter of the Susan G. Komen for the Cure, says similar campaigns have been held in other cities without problems.
Thousands run in underwear to protest Utah laws
SALT LAKE CITY — Thousands of people stripped to their underwear and ran through Salt Lake City to protest what they called the “uptight” laws of Utah. Undie Run organizer Nate Porter says the goal of the event was to organize people frustrated by the conservative nature of the state’s politics. Nudity was prohibited by organizers. Participants donned bras, panties, nightgowns, swimwear or colorful boxer shorts — and some added political messages by expressing support for causes like gay marriage on their chests, backs or legs. Salt Lake City is the home of the Mormon church, which is a vocal opponent of gay marriage. Porter estimates 3,000 people participated in the run, which began in downtown Salt Lake City and circled past the state Capitol building about a mile away.
San Francisco protesters: No nudes is bad news
SAN FRANCISCO — Hanging out on a street corner has taken on new meaning in San Francisco. Several dozen men and at least one woman took part in a naked protest in San Francisco’s Castro District that has become known for its nude visitors. Some participants carried signs that read, “Nudity is Not a Crime” and “Get Your Hate Off My Body,” as they milled around a street corner to the amusement of passersby. San Francisco generally allows public nudity, but a city supervisor has proposed regulating the practice. Organizers of the so-called nude-in say they were not protesting Supervisor Scott Wiener’s proposal. Rather, they say, they want to promote acceptance of the human body no matter what shape or form it comes in.
Man who washed truck naked gets probation in Mass.
ATTLEBORO, Mass. — A man who scrubbed his pickup truck in the nude at a Massachusetts car wash has been sentenced to a year of probation. Robert E. Bailey, of Cumberland, R.I., pleaded guilty to open and gross conduct for being naked at Economy Car Wash in North Attleborough on May 31. The Sun Chronicle reports that a woman vacuuming her vehicle at the business called police after she saw the 65-year-old Bailey in the nude. Police say Bailey was wearing shorts by the time they arrived at the scene and denied doing anything wrong. A judge also ordered Bailey to stay away from the car wash and the witness and to continue counseling. He will also be required to register as a sex offender.
NJ police chief: Double-parking wife not above law
LODI, N.J. — A New Jersey police chief says no one is above the law — not even his wife. Lodi Police Chief Vincent Caruso ordered an officer to ticket his wife after she double parked while dropping off their 5-year-old son at school. Caruso told The Record newspaper he didn’t want her to get any special treatment because of who she is. The chief paid the $54 ticket. It’s not the first time for Paula Caruso. The chief ordered another officer to ticket her two years ago after she forgot to move their vehicle for street cleaning. The chief told the newspaper he loves his wife and she’s very busy driving their four sons around.
Couple’s copper theft for wedding netted $18
ELLWOOD CITY, Pa. — Police say a western Pennsylvania couple desperate for money to pay for their wedding netted just $18 for the stolen copper wire they cut from more than a dozen utility poles. North Sewickley police say 23-year-old Joseph Russell and 24-year-old April Cater cut down the wires on August 9, four days before their wedding. Russell says he was desperate for money because he’d just lost his job and lost a $1,000 deposit after his reception hall abruptly closed down. Sgt. Jeff Bezce says the couple clearly expected to get more money than they got from the scrap where they sold the copper. Russell tells WPXI-TV he will pay for the damages. Utility officials say it will cost about $400 to repair the 18 poles that were damaged.
Taiwan fan drops toddler, bungles foul ball catch
TAIPEI, Taiwan — A Taiwanese baseball fan got himself in hot water with his wife when he dropped their young daughter into the stadium seats in front of him in a bungled attempt to catch a foul ball during a televised game. The man, identified by his surname, Bai, reached for the foul pop from his upper deck seat while holding the toddler in one arm during a game between the Brother Elephants and the Lamigo Monkeys at the Taoyuan Baseball Stadium in suburban Taipei. The ball bounded off Bai’s other arm as he lurched forward and let go of his child. The girl was not badly hurt, but her mother clearly was not amused, as shown in TV coverage of the game that has generated tens of thousands of clicks online. She shot her husband a piercing look of anger and scolded him. Afterward, she made it clear to reporters that he’d be in trouble for a while.
Fire ants delay SC high school football game
NEESES, S.C. — Football games have been postponed by heavy rains, lightning, power outages: and now, fire ants. A game in South Carolina was postponed after the referee decided the field was unplayable because of fire ants. Referee Steve Hook says he found 15 to 20 large active fire ant mounds shortly before the game. Hook says he was worried about players, coaches and officials. Bruce Hulion with the South Carolina High School League says officials properly handled the safety issue. The home team, Hunter-Kinard-Tyler, tried digging up the ant piles and pouring salt on them before the game was postponed. One fan offered to bring fire-ant poison.
Fla. couple gets some stinky roommates — skunks
PALM BAY, Fla. — A Florida couple returned from a monthlong vacation to find they had some new — and stinky — roommates. Stephanie and Bill Palieri told the Florida Today newspaper that about 10 skunks squeezed into their home through a window that was left open. The couple had been visiting relatives to celebrate their 58th wedding anniversary. The skunks tunneled through walls, gnawing on kitchen cabinets and oven wires inside their Palm Bay home. Stephanie Palieri says five skunks walked through the kitchen recently while she was enjoying her coffee. The Palieris live on Social Security and don’t have the money to hire a trapper, so business owners have been helping them with the skunk problem. One trapper helped catch a skunk without charging his usual fee.
Offenders in Ala. town can choose jail or church
BAY MINETTE, Ala. — Authorities say non-violent offenders in southern Alabama will have a new choice: Go to jail, or go to church every Sunday for a year. The city judge in Bay Minette will let misdemeanor offenders choose to work off their sentences in jail and pay a fine; or go to church every Sunday for a year. If offenders select church, they’ll be allowed to pick the place of worship but must check in weekly with the pastor and police. If the one-year church attendance program is completed, the offender’s case will be dismissed. Bay Minette Police Chief Mike Rowland says the program could change the lives of people heading down the wrong path. So far, 56 churches are participating.
ACLU backs students’ ‘Free Banana Man’ shirts
STAFFORD, Va. — High school students wearing “Free Banana Man” T-shirts to protest a classmate’s suspension for sprinting around a football field in a banana costume are drawing support from the ACLU. The American Civil Liberties Union of Virginia has told administrators at a Stafford County high school that they must let students wear the T-shirts. Legal director Rebecca Glenberg sent the letter to Colonial Forge High School officials after students reported being told to remove their yellow T-shirts. Glenberg’s letter urges school officials to respect the students’ constitutional right to free speech. Stafford schools spokeswoman Valerie Cottongim says school officials are reviewing the letter.