Opportunity Knocks | News Quirks | Salt Lake City | Salt Lake City Weekly
Support the Free Press.
Facts matter. Truth matters. Journalism matters.
Salt Lake City Weekly has been Utah's source of independent news and in-depth journalism since 1984.
Donate today to ensure the legacy continues.

News » News Quirks

Opportunity Knocks



Curses, Foiled Again
Investigators concluded that Lucas Burke, 21, and Ethan Keeler, 20, broke into a landscaping business in Hopkinton, N.H., and tried to open a locked safe with an acetylene cutting torch. The safe was full of fireworks. “The whole thing went up and blew their bodies apart,” owner Thomas Komisarek said. (New Hampshire Union Leader)

• Police charged Ethan Gettier, 16, with drug and weapons offenses after he aroused their suspicions by posting “over 600 photos on Instagram showing parties he was having in the house with ample amounts of suspected marijuana and alcohol,” according to the police report, which accused him of selling marijuana from the residence in Gaithersburg, Md. The SWAT team that raided the home also found 45 guns, including an M16 assault rifle. (The Washington Post)

Opportunity Knocks
Hours after a gunman opened fire at Los Angeles International Airport, killing a Transportation Security Administration screener, Jeff Soto, the public relations director of a marketing nonprofit called Visit Newport Beach, sent a tweet to nearly 13,000 followers urging travelers to make alternate arrangements: “Heading out of town on a weekend getaway via LAX? Avoid the chaos and make it a beach vacation here in Newport Beach.” The tweet was deleted an hour later, but Soto was promptly fired. (The Orange County Register)

The Children Development Center at Florida’s Hillsborough Community College notified parents that the center “will no longer be partaking in the celebration of tradition holidays.” When some parents objected, staffer Gwendolyn Parson referred them to an article arguing that children have difficulty understanding holidays and that “many holidays are overdone anyway.” The article suggests celebrating other milestone instead, such as a first tooth, tying shoelaces, worms, the color red or the first snowflake. (Tampa Bay’s WTSP-TV)

• Australia’s National Health and Medical Research Council issued new guidelines for child-care agencies that include a ban on candles on birthday cakes. To avoid spreading germs by blowing out the candles, the council requested that parents instead send individual cupcakes with candles on them. (Social Reader)

Better Off Taking the Bus
The Washington, D.C., Department of Fire & Emergency Medical Service had to pay private ambulance companies $111,400 to provide coverage at two sporting facilities in July after the department pulled 67 of its 94 ambulances out of service for repairs because their air conditioning units failed during a heat wave. Several of the ambulances were repaired by jamming street signs into engine compartments as makeshift heat shields. (The Washington Times)

• In August, three D.C. ambulances caught fire, including two on the same day, as a result of electrical malfunctions and a fuel leak. (The Washington Post)

Mensa Rejects of the Week
Sheriff’s officials said Daniel R. Ricketts, 50, died while driving an all-terrain vehicle in the backyard of his property in Albany County, N.Y., when he ran into a nearly invisible wire he had set up as a booby trap around four large marijuana plants. (Albany’s The Times Union)

• Vic Bryant successfully contested a $100 parking ticket in New Westminster, British Columbia, after paying a lawyer $1,500 to argue his case. (United Press International)

• James Lee Taylor, 45, lit a cigarette while pumping gas at a station in Trinity, Texas, and ignited the gasoline fumes. The fire burned Taylor’s facial hair and eyebrows, melted his cigarette lighter, caught the gas pump on fire, caught one of his flip-flops on fire and charred the side of his Ford Mustang. After an employee doused the flames, police who arrived on the scene found that Taylor had outstanding warrants and lacked car insurance, so they towed his car and arrested him. Taylor told police Sgt. Randy Wheeler that he had been smoking while he pumped gas all of his life, but this was the first time something like this happened to him. (Lufkin’s KTRE-TV)

No Respect
Responding to complaints of drivers speeding through a neighborhood in Wichita, Kan., police set up a radar trailer along the roadside. It was promptly struck by a speeding vehicle, sheriff’s Lt. Save Mattingly reported, noting that the destroyed radar was found 100 feet away. (Wichita’s KWCH-TV)

Things That Go Kaboom
When Michael Pierre, 58, flushed a toilet to check the water pressure in his New York City apartment, it exploded in his face. Thirty stitches were required to close shrapnel wounds from flying shards of porcelain, according to his lawyer, Sanford Rubenstein, who explained that his client is so afraid since the incident that he uses a rope to flush the toilet from a safe distance behind the bathroom door. “Clearly,” Rubenstein said, “toilets are supposed to flush, not explode.” (Agence France-Presse)

• An electronic cigarette exploded and started a house fire in the middle of the night, according to fire officials in Kootenai County, Idaho. The e-cigarette was plugged into a laptop computer to be recharged. “The battery overcharged and exploded,” Fire Marshal Jeryl Archer said. “It blew the end cap off and blew fragments off and onto the couch and ignited the couch in the house.” A smoke alarm awoke the residents, who extinguished the blaze. (West Palm Beach’s WPTV-TV)

Reverse Discrimination
A housing complex designed specifically to accommodate deaf, deaf-blind and hearing-impaired senior citizens in Tempe, Ariz., isn’t doing enough to attract non-hearing impaired residents, according to federal officials. Eighty-five percent of residents of the 75-unit Apache ASL Trails, which received $2.6 million in funding from the U.S. Housing and Urban Development, have hearing disabilities. Federal officials contend the complex violates federal housing discrimination rules and want 75 percent of the residents to be seniors who aren’t deaf or hearing impaired. (The Arizona Republic)

See No Evil
Nikhom Thephakaysone, 30, boarded a packed commuter train in San Francisco and began waving a loaded .45-caliber pistol, according to authorities, who said surveillance cameras showed passengers ignoring him because they were too busy looking at their phones and tablet computers until Thephakaysone finally opened fire, killing a 20-year-old college student. “These weren’t concealed movements. The gun is very clear,” District Attorney George Gascon said. “These people are in very close proximity with him, and nobody sees this. They’re just so engrossed, texting and reading and whatnot. They’re completely oblivious of their surroundings.” (San Francisco Chronicle)

Out on a High Note
After becoming the oldest woman to compete in the New York marathon, Joy Johnson, 86, returned to her hotel, lay down to rest and never woke up. (Agence France-Presse)

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