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News » News Quirks

Aero Dynamics



Curses, Foiled Again
After crashing his car into a utility pole in Albany, N.Y., Miguel Medina fled, according to police, who’d already been alerted because the vehicle was equipped with OnStar. Officers arrived in time to nab Medina and charged him with driving while intoxicated and leaving the scene of an accident. (Albany’s Times Union)

• After Kevin Dalky, 23, crashed into a police car in Suffolk County, N.Y., injuring the driver, responding officers saw he was wearing a T-shirt that proclaimed, “I’m a drunk (Alcoholics go to meetings).” They tested him and charged him with DWI. (Associated Press)

Aero Dynamics
The Air Force is set to certify all of its aircraft to burn fuel made from fat and the oil-bearing plant camelina in 2013, three years ahead of its goal to cut its use of fossil fuels in half. Noting that F-15 and F-16 fighter jets and C-17 cargo planes already use biofuel, Jeff Braun, director of the Alternative Fuels Certification Office, explained, “From a performance standpoint, you can’t tell the difference whether you’re burning a camelina blend, a tallow blend or another fuel that’s made up of a bunch of waste greases—fry grease and seasoning grease.” (Bloomberg News)

• Twice in one week, passengers on Comtel Air charter flights from India to Britain were asked to contribute additional money to cover the cost of fuel and airport fees. In the first incident, 180 passengers were told during a stop in Vienna that the cabin crew needed $32,000 to continue the flight. Passengers who lacked enough cash were allowed to leave the plane one at a time to use cash machines. Later that week, passengers were stranded at the airport in Amritsar, India, because they refused to chip in $200 each. “I understand very well that there are passengers in Amritsar,” Bhupinder Kandra, managing director of the charter line, acknowledged. “But nobody is ready to pay.” (The New York Times)

Jealous Love
Driven by rage after her estranged husband started dating another woman, Laura Jean Wenke, 50, dressed in coveralls, rubber boots and bubble wrap, then drove to his office in Redwood City, Calif. There, according to San Mateo County District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe, she found him at his computer, shot a stun gun into his side and stabbed him in the neck. The husband survived the attack and called police, who found Wenke still in his office wearing her blood-streaked bubble-wrap outfit. (Salinas’s KSBW-TV)

• A British court convicted Dalwara Singh of secretly feeding steroids to his wife of 17 years so she would gain weight and become unattractive to other men. “He constantly accused her of infidelity and having affairs,” prosecutor Caroline Bray told Leicester Crown Court. Victim Jaspreet Singh Gill said the tainted food tasted bitter, but he made her eat it out of guilt by telling her he made it especially for her. She grew hair on her chin, cheeks and back, developed spotty, constantly itchy skin, and some scalp hair fell out. (Britain’s Daily Mail)

It’s Who You Know
Facing eight to 10 years in prison after pleading guilty to conspiring to intentionally report false revenues and earnings to cover up losses and prop up stock prices of MCSi Inc., the company he headed, Michael E. Peppel, 44, was sentenced to only seven days in federal prison. Admitting in a Cincinnati, Ohio, courtroom that the sentence was a “huge” departure from federal sentencing guidelines, U.S. District Judge Sandra Beckwith said she was moved by 113 letters of support from Peppel’s friends and family and the fact that five children, an ailing mother and brother depend on Peppel for support. Beckwith added that Peppel, whose family and friends gave him a standing ovation when the lenient sentence was announced, wouldn’t have to pay restitution to 1,300 MCSi employees who lost their jobs when the company failed and at least 281 wiped-out investors. (Dayton Daily News)

• When Jonathan Yates, 18, was ticketed in Centreville, Ill., for driving 43 mph in a 20-mph zone, Joann Reed, a clerk at the St. Clair County Sheriff’s Department, wrote a three-page message asking Centreville village lawyer Carmen Durso to “dismiss the case.” Reed mistakenly faxed the request to the Belleville News-Democrat newspaper. When a reporter questioned her, Reed admitted that Yates “is the son of one of our deputies.” (Belleville News-Democrat)

When Spellcheck Isn’t Enough
When Democrats in Derby, Conn., nominated James R. Butler, 72, as their candidate for the 10-member Board of Apportionment and Taxation, his name was mistakenly listed on the ballot as “James J. Butler.” Butler received the most votes, but there’s a real James J. Butler, 46, who happens to be James R. Butler’s son. Av Harris of the secretary of state’s office said James J. Butler should be sworn in because he was the one elected. (Associated Press)

Temptation Eyes
Saudi Arabia’s Committee for the Promotion of Virtue & the Prevention of Vice affirmed its right to order women whose eyes seem “tempting” to cover them immediately. Saudi women already must wear a loose black dress and cover their hair and sometimes their face when they appear in public. Sheikh Motlab al-Nabet of the Ha’eal district announced the CPVPV’s authority after a Saudi man fought with a member of the committee who ordered the man’s wife to cover her eyes. The husband was stabbed twice in the hand. (Egypt’s Bikya Masr news agency)

Comfy Ending
Firefighters who found a 74-year-old woman at her home in Independence, Mo., said she had been in her reclining chair so long that her skin had fused to it and remained with the chair when she was pried from it. A fire captain described the woman as a “rotting corpse that was still breathing.” She died shortly after. (Associated Press)