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Sky's-the-Limit Marketing



Curses, Foiled Again
A thief who tried to steal a Corvette in Prince George, British Columbia, stalled the car and then ran down the battery trying to restart it. Without power, the electric door locks wouldn’t work. Feeling trapped, the thief tried to break the side window with the victim’s anti-theft steering-wheel lock, but failed. He then tried to smash the window with a hatchet that he had in his backpack, but couldn’t. He finally managed to break the window and was crawling through it when the police arrived. They arrested Brent Jameson Morgan, 20. “As it turns out,” Royal Canadian Mounted Police Cpl. Craig Douglass pointed out, “all the suspect would have had to do was manually slide the door lock to the side, and the door would have opened.” (The Prince George Citizen)

• A gunman robbed a Los Angeles hotel, but two guests getting off the elevator heard the desk clerk call for help and chased the fleeing suspect. They happened to be martial arts experts in town for a tournament, so even though the robber was still holding a loaded 9mm handgun, they wrestled the weapon from him, knocked him to the ground with a leg sweep and pinned him until police arrived and arrested Luis Rosales, 31. (Los Angeles’s KTLA-TV)

Sky’s-the-Limit Marketing
The Medford, Ore., City Council voted to allow advertising on the city airport’s control tower. The 25-by-25-foot corporate logos will appear on all four sides of the 100-foot-tall tower and could raise as much as $3,000 a month. Councilor Al Densmore said the revenue would be spent to lower landing fees and help attract new airlines. (Associated Press)

• Tourist officials in Norway accused tourist officials in Finland of trying to “steal” the celestial phenomenon known as the northern lights. The display is the prime, if not only, attraction for winter tourists. Norway had the market to itself until the Finnish Tourist Board posted time-lapse video footage of the aurora borealis on YouTube, where it was viewed 400,000 times in just two months. “We cannot stand by and watch the Finns try to grab a bigger share of the northern-lights market,” Per-Arne Tuftin of Innovation Norway, the state-owned company that promotes tourism, told the Tromso-based newspaper Nordlys (whose name translates as “northern lights”). “We will not give up—the northern lights will be ours.” (Germany’s Der Speigel)

Seemed Like a Good Idea at the Time
A 22-year-old man in Lubbock, Texas, returned home with his wife and child around 1 a.m. but realized he had left his key inside the house. Not wanting to pay a locksmith, he decided to climb down the chimney. He got stuck, and his wife had to call 911, according to Deputy Fire Marshal Robert Loveless, who said firefighters finally rescued him after about an hour by dropping a rope down the chimney and hoisting him up. (Lubbock Avalanche-Journal)

• Ethan Bennett, 36, told sheriff’s deputies in Benton County, Ore., that he was startled when a squirrel ran up his left leg at his residence and fired a .22-caliber rifle at it. He missed the squirrel but shot himself in the foot. (Corvallis Gazette-Times)

Paper Trail
Federal prosecutors said salespeople for a West Palm Beach, Fla., company conned a dozen elderly customers into spending about $1 million to buy unnecessary septic products, in some cases more than 70 years worth of toilet paper. The con artists at FBK Products told their victims the federal government had changed regulations governing toilet paper and that they needed the company’s special toilet paper to avoid ruining their septic tanks. (The Miami Herald)

Rules Are Rules
When city officials in Detroit decided to repave Grandy Street, a 2006 legal settlement with the Michigan Paralyzed Veterans of America required they provide wheelchair-accessible curbs at intersections. The ramps were built along a 13-block stretch, at a cost of $156,000, even though Grandy Street is sparsely populated, occupied and abandoned houses are run down, and the ramps lead mostly to grassy fields and broken sidewalks blocked by fallen trees and debris. “It is what it is,” said Frank Jacobini, vice president of Major Cement, which the city paid to do the work. “It’s one of those bureaucratic things that doesn’t make any sense.” (Detroit News)

Poetic Justice
When Colorado authorities arrested former Arapahoe County Sheriff Patrick J. Sullivan Jr., 68, on a drug charge, the 2001 National Sheriff Association’s “Sheriff of the Year” was jailed at the Patrick J. Sullivan Jr. Detention Facility, named in his honor. (Denver’s KCNC-TV)

Doomed by Success
A British bakery that signed up with Chicago-based Groupon to offer a 75-percent discount on a dozen cupcakes, which normally cost $40, was forced to bake 102,000 cupcakes when 8,500 people signed up online for the $10 bargain. To fill the orders, Need a Cake bakery owner Rachel Brown had to spend $19,500 to hire temporary workers through an employment agency, wiping out her year’s profits. Her Reading bakery also lost between $2.90 and $4.70 on each batch of cupcakes she sold. “Without doubt, it was my worst ever business decision,” Brown said. (BBC News)

Fire Power
Arthur Joseph Knafla, 84, greeted the opening day of hunting season in Minnesota by trying to light a propane heater in his deer stand. According to the St. Louis County Sheriff’s Office, the heater set his clothing on fire, and he fell to the ground and died. (Minneapolis’s The Star Tribune)

• Louis Amodt of the Utah Abandoned Mine Reclamation Program said it’d be several months before the agency knows if its latest attempt to extinguish a 70-year-old underground fire is successful. The fire, one of about two-dozen documented coal fires burning in the state, was first spotted in 1941 at a mine outside Helper. It forced the mine’s closing in 1945 but caused no deaths or property damage, so authorities let it burn. In 1989, however, it grew so hot it set above-ground trees on fire, and efforts to douse the blaze began. All have failed. In November, state contractors pumped 14,000 cubic feet of grout into the ground through drill holes and cracks, hoping to suffocate the fire. Noting that the fire has burned so long it has faulted and fractured the ground “so it leaks like a sieve,” letting oxygen reach the fire “from multiple sources,” Amodt declared confidently, “If we can shut the oxygen supply, the fire will go out.” (Salt Lake City’s KSL-TV)

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

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