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News of the Weird

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Lead Story

Health-services legislation in the Florida House of Representatives was voted down in May, with the deciding vote cast by Representative Mike Langton's son, 12, who was fooling around with the electronic vote machine on his father's desk on the floor of the House. Representative Langton said he, personally, would have voted "yes," but had stepped away to make a phone call when the vote came up, leaving his son alone.

Not Supposed to Happen Anymore

Restaurateur Philip Lee of Green Bay, Wisconsin, held a midnight seance on May 19, the 60th anniversary of an unsolved murder on his property. Two years ago, he held a successful Ouija board event that yielded the correct date of the murder. Lee believes that, unless he gets to the bottom of this, spirits in the building will affect business.

The Reverend James Bishop canceled the lunch he had promised to eat, alone, atop the steeple of his Baptist church in Glen Burnie, Maryland, in April as payoff for increased Sunday school attendance. Reason for cancellation: just hours before Bishop's lunch, a huge lightning bolt split the steeple in two.

In March accused burglar Keith Stacy, 19, escaped from county jail in Athens, Ohio, by tying bed sheets together and lowering himself from a window.

Two 18-year-old men were arrested in Portland, Oregon, in March and charged with assaulting five people by shooting darts at them through a blowgun.

Fetishes on Parade

Grant Oliver, 25, was arrested in Torquay, England, last fall when police spotted him punching and yelling at someone on the street. On closer inspection, police discovered the victim was a blowup doll but jailed Oliver anyway for disturbing the peace.

The Jasper, Texas, panty bandit (not related to the Salt Lake City or Tempe, Arizona, panty bandits) was arrested in January after an 11-month reign, hampered by several victims' reluctance to report details of the crime to police. Said the sheriff, "People don't hold to nobody breaking into their homes and trifling with their undergarments."

The Columbus, Georgia, panty bandit is still at large after an 18-month campaign of stealing women's underwear, mostly from attractive women using laundry rooms of upscale apartment buildings. Some articles have been recovered hanging from signs and trees around town.

Repairman Thomas Joseph Bowman, 46, of Glendale, California, was arrested and charged with stealing nine tons of bricks recently from a storage yard and burying them behind his home.

Smooth Reactions

In January in Kingston, Ontario, a 27-year-old driver's license applicant, fearful that she had already failed her driver's test, began driving recklessly to terrorize the examiner. The examiner wrested the key from the ignition, but the applicant began to beat the examiner with her fists and later tried to run her down in the parking lot.

Stephen Baker, 20, was hospitalized with a gunshot wound in Vancouver, Washington, in February. According to a witness, Baker had hit a man's car with a snowball from an overpass. The man got out of his car, aimed a rifle at Baker, fired one shot, got back in his car, and sped off.

In November Los Angeles sanitation truck driver Felipe Espinoza Suarez, 32, complaining of unsafe trucks and job stress, dumped the entire contents of his truck (ten tons of garbage) on the street in front of city hall.

Sam Douglas, 31, was arrested in February for attempted murder in Shreveport, Louisiana. He had taken his car to a mechanic for a recurring problem that had not been fixed. When he returned for his car at the end of the day, he was told it was not ready. He started to walk away, stopped, then reportedly pulled a gun and shot the mechanic.

A 27-year-old man, angry because a convenience store in Murray, Utah, was out of nachos, leapt onto the clerk yelling and screaming and tossed a sign at him, causing the clerk to bang against a counter, breaking his leg.

Beverly Swank, 31, was sentenced to 60 days in jail for public indecency in Huntington, Indiana, in December because during funeral services for her late husband in October at a cemetery, she urinated on the casket.

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): illustration/Shawn Belschwender.

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