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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Freaky Friday news: Van for inebriated taken on drunken joyride

Compiled from wire reports
Unusual news nuggets from around the globe:

ANCHORAGE, Alaska — Anchorage police say a city van used to pick up drunken people was taken on a joyride by a man suspected of drunken driving. The Anchorage Daily News reports that 35-year-old Donny H. Weston was arrested after police say he got into a Community Service Patrol van parked with the keys in the engine. Police say social workers were attending inebriated people when Weston got into the van. Police say Weston drove the van for significant distance, including driving against traffic, and he eventually crashed the van into a bus and ditched it. The van is part of a city program that picks up inebriated people and shuttles them to sleeping center. Police say the inebriated men in the back of the van didn’t notice the joyride.

Police: Foursome tried to take Ohio Taco Bell art
WESTLAKE, Ohio — Workers at an Ohio Taco Bell say four people wanted more than nachos. Restaurant employees in suburban Cleveland told police that the group tried to make off with a painting valued at $157 that was hanging on a wall in the fast-food joint. The Plain Dealer newspaper reports the Taco Bell manager prevented the culprits from putting the art in their car. Police say the manager recognized the car’s driver as an 18-year-old former employee at the restaurant. His three cohorts ranged in age from 17 to 21. Police were waiting for a prosecutor to decide on charges for the four.

Whoa, baby! Texas mom delivers 16-pound newborn
LONGVIEW, Texas — A Texas mom expected a big baby, but nothing like this: 16 pounds, 1 ounce. Janet Johnson gave birth to what her doctors called one of the biggest newborns they’ve seen. She was awaiting word on whether her son, JaMichael Brown, ranked among the biggest births in state history. “Everybody was amazed that he was so big,” Johnson, 39, said. “I don’t think too many people have heard of having a 16-pound baby.” Johnson has gestational diabetes, which results in bigger newborns for many mothers.

6-year-old Illinois girl quietly sinks hole in 1
BLOOMINGTON, Ill. — A 6-year-old golfer sank a hole in one on a course in central Illinois and calmly walked back to her cart. Why such a quiet reaction? Reagan Kennedy’s father had told the Bloomington girl not to make a lot of noise on the course. But 13-year-old Cheyenne Broquard says she told her younger sister that a hole in one was the one time a golfer could be excused for making a little noise. Kennedy made the 85-yard shot on the third hole at The Links at Ireland Grove. Mother Erin Kennedy says her husband starting to put a golf club in Reagan’s hands when she was only 2. Reagan Kennedy says she’s now working toward her ultimate golf goal — beating her father.

Sheriff selling pink underwear with Spanish print
PHOENIX — The Arizona sheriff famous for making prisoners wear pink underwear is introducing a Spanish-language version of the shorts he sells to the public. Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio began issuing pink underwear to inmates more than 15 years ago to cut down on theft. He began selling them to the public after speaking about them on national television. The versions on sale now are imprinted with “Vamos Jose!” The original shorts, also $15, feature a sheriff’s star and a “Go Joe” logo. “Vamos” translates to “We go” in English. A similar-sounding word, “Vamanos,” means “Let’s go!” in Spanish. A more accurate translation of “Go Joe!” would be “Andale, Jose!”

Lawsuit: Chase Bank declared woman dead
SANFORD, Fla. — A central Florida woman says she’s having numerous financial troubles because of a bank error that caused Chase Bank USA to declare her dead last November. Wrenella Pierre has filed a lawsuit and Chase officials said Monday they’re investigating how the mistake happened. When Pierre and her husband built their home in 2007, they got two mortgages through Chase. According to the lawsuit, the bank notified credit-reporting agencies last year that Pierre had died. They sent a letter of condolence to the family, saying someone from the bank would be in touch about the mortgage. Pierre says she notified bank officials that she was alive and also went to a local branch to correct the mistake. A month later, the lawsuit alleges, credit agencies still reported her dead.

Brazil boy seems to attract metal objects
SAO PAULO — An 11-year-old boy in Brazil’s northeastern city of Mossoro is drawing attention with his purportedly magnet-like qualities. The Globo TV network has broadcast images of Paulo David Amorim demonstrating how forks, knives, scissors, cooking pans, cameras and other metal objects seem drawn to his body and remain stuck on his chest, stomach and back. The boy’s father tells Globo that he decided to test his son after learning of a boy in Croatia with a similar ability. Junior Amorim says he was surprised to find “a fork and knife stuck to his body.” The youth says classmates call him “magnet boy.” Dr. Dix-Sept Rosado Sobrinho tells Globo it is the first time in his 30-year career that he has seen a case like this.

Ohio zoo uses fake eggs so mama flamingoes rest
COLUMBUS, Ohio — An Ohio zoo is using artificial eggs to fool its mother flamingoes, so they don’t wear themselves out. The Columbus Zoo and Aquarium has found eggs laid by its female flamingoes are most likely to hatch if they’re put in an incubator. But the Columbus Dispatch reports that when eggs are taken away, the mothers may keep laying replacements. Zoo assistant curator Carrie Pratt tells the newspaper it can be taxing to continue to lay eggs. To get the females to stop producing, the zoo gives them fake eggs made of wood or plaster. The zoo just welcomed its latest incubated chicks — three that were hatched less than a week ago.

Two-headed snake on display in Ukraine zoo
KIEV, Ukraine — A two-headed snake has gone on display at a zoo in southern Ukraine. The “Skazka” (Fairy tale) zoo in the Crimean city of Yalta on the Black Sea said that the albino California Kingsnake has two heads that think, react and eat separately, though one is more passive than the other. Dmytro Tkachov, a zoo worker taking care of the snake, said he puts a barrier between the heads when feeding the snake lest one eats the other. The snake will be on display at the zoo until mid-September. The zoo would not provide further details.