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Newsquirks | Nowhere, Alaska

By Roland Sweet
Posted // November 26,2008 -

Curses, Foiled Again
nBarry Cleveland Roberts, 46, was arrested for murder in Norfolk, Va., when he tried to buy a gun. Virginia State Police Sgt. Michelle Cotton said that after Roberts filled out an application at Bob’s Guns and Tackle, a background check turned up the outstanding murder warrant. Authorities were waiting for him when he returned to the store to purchase the weapon.

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• British police arrested three men who robbed a jewelry store in Maidstone, Kent, because they stopped for a red light less than 200 yards from the scene of the crime, allowing officers to catch up to them.

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• Trevor Agnew, 44, pleaded guilty to burglary after British police caught him using stolen bankcards to try to withdraw money from the same ATM in Timperley. The Manchester Evening News reported Agnew returned to the ATM more than 50 times trying to guess the PINs by entering random sets of four numbers. He failed to guess right before arousing suspicion. Police identified him from his many appearances on the ATM camera.

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Election Coverage
nThe day after the presidential election, the Sapulpa Daily Herald reported that the majority of Creek County, Okla., voted for John McCain for president but failed to mention that Barack Obama won the election. “Our main focus is to be a local newspaper,” publisher Darren Sumner told Tulsa’s KJRH-TV.

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• The Defense Department nixed election coverage by the military’s Stars & Stripes newspaper. Despite congressional and military policies guaranteeing the paper’s First Amendment freedom, officials barred reporters from doing routine color stories reporting reaction to the voting from public areas of military bases to “avoid engaging in activities that could associate the Department with any partisan election.” The Washington Post reported that commanders in Japan and South Korea obeyed the order, but commanders in the Middle East and Europe ignored it.

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Nowhere, Alaska
nCostco announced it was canceling plans to build a 154,000-square-foot store in Wasilla, Alaska. The retail giant said only that it had decided not to pursue the project, giving no specifics, but withdrawing its application to develop the 17.53-acre site after drilling 27 holes to test the soil.

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On the Campaign Trail
nWhile running for governor of Bangkok, underdog Chuvit Kamolvisit reacted to questions during a live television interview by punching and kicking host Visarn Dilokwanich. Visarn commented Chuvit “behaved like a thug.” Chuvit, who the Thai press dubbed Bangkok’s massage parlor king, told reporters, “I admit I did it. I couldn’t stand it when he humiliated me.”

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When Guns Are Outlawed
nAccused of attempted homicide, Valentina Grenader, 45, told detectives in Waukesha County, Wis., she hit her husband in the head with a dumbbell. She and Mark Grenader showed up at the New Berlin police station, where he explained she had initiated sex, tied him to the bedposts, blindfolded him and then wrapped his face in plastic wrap. She hit him three or four times with the weight when he started thrashing because he couldn’t breathe and yelled for help.

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Her story was that she has a gambling problem and waited until she tied him up to tell him she lost $800 at a casino. She hit him because he was yelling so loud that she couldn’t talk to him about her problem. She called her husband a “control freak.”

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The Hidden Cost of Speedy Delivery
nNew York Police Department Deputy Commissioner Paul J. Browne told The New York Times that FedEx, UPS and DHL trucks “are towed collectively on the average of one or two per day.” The most common offenses are blocking lanes and parking in bus stops. “They are typically reclaimed in a matter of hours,” Browne added, “after paying a tow fee of $370—twice the $185 fee for towed autos.”

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Second-Amendment Follies
nEight-year-old Christopher Bizilj accidentally shot himself in the head with a machine gun at a weapons show in Westfield, Mass. The boy was being supervised by his father at the “Machine Gun Shoot and Firearms Expo” in Westfield, Mass., when he fired the fully loaded 9mm Micro Uzi weapon. The recoil sent the firearm up and back. “The accident was truly a mystery to me,” Charles Bizilj told The Boston Globe, noting his son had been firing handguns and rifles since he was 5.

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Desperation Pays Off
nFannie Mae canceled the mortgage of a 90-year-old woman who shot herself when sheriff’s deputies tried to evict her from her foreclosed home in Akron, Ohio. “We’re going to forgive whatever outstanding balance she had on the loan and give her the house,” Fannie Mae official Brian Faith said after Addie Polk was hospitalized for two gunshot wounds to the upper body. “Given the circumstances, we think it’s appropriate.”

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Seemed Like a Good Idea at the Time
nAn attempt in Iran to have the world’s largest sandwich recognized by the Guinness Book of Records ended before it could be measured. The moment event organizers unveiled the estimated 4,920-foot-long sandwich at a park in Tehran, a gathering crowd rushed forward and ate it. A Reuters correspondent who witnessed the chaos said the giant snack was gone in minutes. Organizer Parvin Shariatim said he hoped Guinness officials would still count the record based on video footage before the feast.

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Compiled from the nation’s press by Roland Sweet. Submit items, citing date and source, to P.O. Box 8130, Alexandria VA 22306.

 
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