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News » News Quirks

Naming Rights



Curses, Foiled Again
Authorities intercepted two boxes containing 100 grams of cocaine and 3 kilos of methamphetamine being shipped to the Philippines via FedEx, but they couldn’t identify the sender until Gabriel Uribe-Bautista, 37, of Redwood City, Calif., called FedEx two weeks later asking why his packages hadn’t arrived, and gave his name and whereabouts. (Palo Alto Daily News)

Sheriff’s deputies summoned to an address in Stuart, Fla., charged Stephen Bates, 28, with threatening his neighbor with a chain saw. A witness heard him declare, “I am going to kill you. I am going to (expletive) kill you,” The attack ended abruptly when Bates was unable to start the chain saw. (Treasure Coast’s TCPalm)

Naming Rights
The Weather Channel announced it is “the first national organization in North America to proactively name winter storms.” TWC, which claims a 76 percent share of the U.S. weather audience, assumes other media and the government will also use its names. The announcement said names will follow a Greek-Roman theme, starting with Athena, Brutus and Caesar, and be assigned to any storm with the potential “to produce disruptive impacts including snowfall, ice, wind and temperature.” One of TWC’s few competitors, AccuWeather, didn’t mention assigning its own names but expressed concern “about the lack of strict criteria with naming winter storms.” TWC meteorologist Bryan Norcross said having everyone use TWC’s name “will mean fewer surprises and more preparation,” making bad weather safer. (The Washington Post)

Letter of the Law
Officials stopped Dana Crow-Smith from handing out free water at an art event in downtown Phoenix, Ariz., claiming she violated the city’s “mobile vendor” ordinance. It bans vendors from “giving away goods, wares, or merchandise or food” while standing on private property. Crow-Smith, who believes she was standing on a public sidewalk but concedes she might have inadvertently stepped onto a private lot, said she was publicly expressing her Christian faith by giving passersby water, not selling it, but city manager David Cavazos said her giveaway was unfair to merchants who paid for permits to sell food and drink at the event. (Phoenix’s The Arizona Republic)

Mistakes Were Made
Julia Garcia claimed she was Christmas shopping at a Walmart store in San Antonio, Texas, and handed a $100 bill to the cashier, who informed her the bill was fake and tore it in half “without performing any counterfeit detection test.” When Garcia complained, the cashier called the manager. Garcia showed him a second $100 bill, which he tore up. The manager then detained Garcia and called police. She said she was held for four hours at the front of the store, where store employees informed curious shoppers that Garcia was caught passing fake money. Police determined the bills were genuine and told the manager to give Garcia $200. She then filed a complaint asking $74,900 in damages from the store. (Britain’s Daily Mail)

Beauty Under the Skin
A 46-year-old woman died and three others were hospitalized after receiving a beauty treatment at a Hong Kong clinic. The procedure involves blood transfusions and is being tested as a cancer treatment. Until it’s approved, however, it is being used for cosmetic purposes, according to Hong Kong’s Hospital Authority, which reported the woman died of septic shock. (Associated Press)

Job Insecurity
Robots are taking jobs from dolphins working for the Navy. Starting in 2017, the service will replace 24 of its 80 mine-hunting dolphins with 12-foot unmanned vehicles. The robots can be made quickly and used instantly, whereas dolphins need seven years of training before they’re able to warn of undersea mines and terrorist divers. The displaced dolphins will join sea lions as port security guards. (Associated Press)

Crime Eventually Pays
Austrian police who arrested Otto Neuman in 1993 for stealing more than $240,000, plus gold bars and gold coins, from the Vienna bank he managed, recovered only $82,000 and the gold. The gold went to the bank’s insurance company and the cash to Austria’s Justice Ministry. Neuman served three and a half years in prison. This fall, court officials notified Neuman’s lawyer, Herbert Eichenseder, that his client was entitled to the stolen money. The bank wouldn’t take it because the insurance company had compensated it in full. The insurance company declined it, saying the increase in the gold’s value more than covered what it paid to the bank. After locating Neuman, now 63, Eichenseder reported, “To say that he was surprised was an understatement, but he provided his bank account details, and the money has now been transferred.” (Austrian Times)

Under the Law’s Nose
A thief robbed a Hobart hotel where dozens of police officers, gathered from all over New Zealand for the National Police Football Championships, were busy drinking. They didn’t notice a hotel employee chasing the suspect, who stole a few hundred dollars from a cash drawer in another part of the hotel when the worker stepped away for a moment. The suspect escaped, but police promised, “His arrest is imminent. We have good CCTV footage.” (Hobart’s The Mercury)

New Twist on Flashing
A bartender called police in Athens, Ohio, to report a man outside in the middle of the afternoon put a Taser down his pants and was “acting like it was his penis.” According to the police report, “When people would walk by, he would shock it at them and would come as close as arm’s reach from them and set the Taser off. He scared a few girls so much they crossed the street to get away.” (Athens Banner-Herald)

Better Than FEMA Trailers
New York City spent just under $1 million for 120 hotel rooms that sat empty after Hurricane Sandy. The Department of Homeless Services reserved the rooms at the midtown-Manhattan Milford Plaza Hotel in case more displaced people wanted them, but none applied. The city, which relocated people from temporary shelters to 29 other hotels, expects FEMA to reimburse it. (The Wall Street Journal)

Who Reads Signs?
After two women entered Detroit’s Eastern District police headquarters in 2011 carrying three hand grenades in a shopping bag, the station posted a sign on the door: “NO WEAPONS OF ANY KIND (including hand grenades).” This November, a man brought a grenade in a flowerpot into the building. “I met him at the door,” Officer Willie Soles said, “and he said he found it under his mother’s porch.” After evacuating the building, including about 30 prisoners, the bomb squad and Homeland Security personnel removed the grenade and detonated it. (The Detroit News)

Compiled from the press reports by Roland Sweet. Authentication on demand.