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The Weird Week in Review

Woman Injured by Falling Porcupine

Sandra Nabucco of Gavea, Brazil, was walking her dog in Rio de Janeiro when a porcupine perched on a lamp post fell -right on Nabucco's head! The porcupine was okay, but Nabucco was left with 272 quills stuck in her scalp. We know how many because the surgeon counted them as he removed them, one by one. Nabucco is taking antibiotics after the painful treatment.

Don't Use Fire to Remove TP from Tree

Cheryl Crausewell of Dora, Alabama, found that someone had TPed the trees in her yard on Saturday night. The family tried to clean up the mess, but some of the toilet paper in a magnolia tree was out of their reach. What to do? Maybe they should have tried a ladder, but instead they set it on fire. A small piece of paper drifted out to the yard and ignited the grass.

"It just popped out into a little patch and we tried to put it out and it just kept going, so I was trying to keep it from going down the front porch and came down the bank and around the back of the house," she said.

Within seconds, Crausewell said the fire spread to the backyard where the propane gas tank from a grill may have added fuel to the fire.

Crausewell, her son, her elderly aunt, her mother and her aunt's caregiver were all at home when the fire started around 2 p.m. Everyone was able to get out safely.

The video at WBRC shows the scorched yard and toilet paper still in the trees, as well as the house, which is a total loss.

Baby Born on Snow Sled

Shirley Bonanni of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, went into labor Thursday. Before she and her husband Fabian could go to the hospital, they waited for Fabian's parents to come and stay with their two-year-old son. By the time they arrived, Shirley was so far along in labor that she couldn't walk. So Fabian got a snow sled to take her to the car, which was down the hill and couldn't make it up the icy driveway. The baby couldn't wait, and came into the world as her mother was being transported on the sled. The grandparents and neighbors were on the phone with two 911 dispatchers, who gave instructions. Fabian rushed the baby into the warm home, and the grandparents and two neighbors carried Shirley, still on the sled, back into the house. An ambulance arrived later to take mother and daughter to a hospital for observation. Little Bella Sophia Bonanni is doing well. After the publicity of the birth, Firestone is giving the family four new snow tires so this won't happen again.

Police Rescue Man from Snow Fort

Police in Hermantown, Minnesota, responded quickly and saved a man's life after his snow fort collapsed on him. And his dog. Josh Toms and his dog Leo were inside the snow fort he built when the roof fell in, trapping both of them with little breathing room. The weight of the snow kept Toms from escaping.

Outside the fort was Toms’ son, Ian. "It was like, really, really scary because I didn't know what was happening," Ian said.

Ian then remembered what Toms had told him an hour before: "You first call 911 and then you come back and you start shoveling. But I was like, 'don't worry this never happens.'"

But this time it did.

Ian said "I was like ‘oh, he's just going to stand up,’ but he didn't stand up. So I ran inside to call 911."

Within 15 minutes, police arrived and pulled both Toms and Leo from the snow.

Hacked Refrigerators Send Spam Email

If a malware program can't find its way into your computer due to increased security, it will try other devices -like household appliances. An attack in December sent 750,000 spam email messages through malware that invaded 100,000 vulnerable devices, including a refrigerator. Some modern appliances have sophisticated computers inside, with internet connectivity so you can program them with your smartphone. However, these appliance computers rarely have adequate security against such attacks.

Pentagon Gives Away 13,000 Armored Trucks

The US military is divesting themselves of 13,000 10-foot-tall 40,000-pound heavily-armored vehicles because they don't think they will need them in the future. No, you can't just run out and get one, because they are not going to be given to private citizens. You wouldn't be able to afford parts and maintenance anyway. The Pentagon first offered the vehicles to US allies.

Interest from foreign militaries has been tepid. But they are a hit with stateside police agencies. Almost 200 trucks have been distributed to police departments since August and requests are pending for an additional 750 trucks. The vehicles, many of which feature machine-gun turrets, are off-limits to private citizens and businesses.

Lucky recipients run from the Ohio State University campus police force to Florence County, S.C., which replaced an armored vehicle from the 1970s that the sheriff department's SWAT team had used for about 15 years. A new armored truck would have cost at least $188,000.

You have to wonder what a campus police force intends to do with an armored truck. Or local police departments, for that matter. Defense contractors that maintain the vehicles and supply parts hope that the vehicles will stay in use instead of being sent to the scrap heap.

5 Strange News Stories From This Week

Welcome to The Weird Week in Review, where we bring you odd news stories from all over.

1. MAN PAYS FINE WITH FIVE WHEELBARROWS OF PENNIES

On January 11, Nick Stafford of Cedar Bluff, Virginia, carted 1600 pounds of pennies into the Lebanon Department of Motor Vehicles to pay taxes on two of his vehicles. It was the end of a saga that began in September, when Stafford tried to find out which of his homes (which are located in two counties) he should use to register his son's new car. When he tried to call his local DMV, he was routed to a larger call center—and so, to get the local number he wanted, he submitted a successful Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request. Then he went one step further, filing three lawsuits to get the direct numbers for nine other local DMVs. “If they were going to inconvenience me then I was going to inconvenience them,” Stafford told The Herald Courier.

A judge ultimately dismissed the lawsuits when the state's Attorney General physically handed Stafford the phone numbers in the courtroom. But Stafford still had to pay sales tax on his vehicles, and he got in one last dig at the DMV while doing so: First, he bought five new wheelbarrows. Then, he bought a bunch of rolls of pennies. He hired 11 people to help him unroll the pennies—300,000 in total—and drove them to the DMV, where he put them in the wheelbarrows and, with the help of people he had hired, rolled them in. (“I’m not used to lifting,” Stafford said. “These are heavy.”) The lawsuits, wheelbarrow, and hired help cost Stafford more than $1000 above the amount of the vehicle tax.

2. MOTORIST JAILED OVER KITTY LITTER

When he was pulled over in early December 2016, Ross Lebeau thought it was a routine traffic stop—but Houston sheriff's deputies arrested him on drug charges. In his car, the officers had found a substance in a sock, which, when field tested, was positive for meth. A press release stated that Lebeau had been found with a half pound of meth in his vehicle; the release contained both Lebeau's mugshot and a picture of the substance seized.

Lebeau spent three days in jail, but he was released when lab tests revealed that the substance was not meth after all—it was kitty litter! As WMC Action News 5 reported on January 7:

Lebeau said the substance was cat litter inside a sock.

His father left one in his car and gave the other to his sister for her car. It's supposed to keep the windows from fogging up.

The problem was that two field tests done by deputies came back positive for meth.

The county's forensic lab tested the substance as well, and no drugs were found. The case was then dismissed, but the damage was already done to Lebeau's reputation. "People have been calling me a kingpin or drug lord," Lebeau said, adding that he's lost out on work because of the accusation. “I was wrongly accused, and I'm going to do everything in my power to clear my name."

3. SWISS TOWN DENIES PASSPORT TO "ANNOYING" DUTCH VEGAN

Nancy Holten was born in the Netherlands, but she's lived in Switzerland since she was a child. The outspoken vegan and animal rights activist has campaigned against the cowbells that local livestock wear, saying the tradition is animal abuse, and has complained about loud church bells, hunting, and pig races. Holten, who is seeking Swiss citizenship, as been denied twice. Local residents can approve or deny villagers' requests, and they have deemed Holten too annoying. As Yahoo News UK reported on January 11:

"Tanja Suter, the president of the local Swiss People’s Party, claimed Ms Holten has a 'big mouth' and that residents did not want to grant her citizenship 'if she annoys us and doesn’t respect our traditions.'"

Holten's citizenship case has been transferred to the Cantonal (regional) government body, which can overturn the local decision.

4. MAN FOUND STUCK IN KITCHEN VENT

Gjyste (Julie) Margilaj heard a crashing sound in her first-floor Manhattan apartment kitchen just after midnight on January 10. “I freaked ... out for a couple of minutes, and then I went over to the kitchen and I heard someone panting and breathing like they were in obvious pain. They were freaking out," she told the New York Daily News. “I opened the kitchen vent so he could breathe.” The man, a new resident of the seven-story building, had been on the roof hanging with some friends when, according to the FDNY, he removed the cover of an exhaust fan and slid down into the ductwork. "The shaft was so small that his body took up the entire vent," FDNY Chief Patrick Tansey told Pix 11 News. "So, using power tools was out of the question. We had to expose him by hand." The man—who was wearing just his underwear—only had minor injuries after the ordeal. "He had told the occupant who called us something about a pool in the basement," Tansey said, "but I don't know."

5. GOLFER RUN OVER BY TOILET

This week, Brian Berg filed a lawsuit over an incident that occurred last summer at Fox Run Golf Links in Elk Grove Village, Illinois. The golfer was enjoying a day on the green when he was run over by a portable toilet. An employee of the course was using a forklift to move the toilet but couldn't see where he was going because the toilet obscured his vision. According to CBS Chicago,

"After he was knocked to the ground by the porta-potty’s “initial blow,” it did not stop, hitting him in the face and knocking him unconscious, the suit says. It injured his shoulder, cut his chin, cracked a rib, bruised a bicep and caused 'a large, deep bruise to his leg.'"

Berg is asking $50,000 in damages from the Elk Grove Park District, which runs the golf course, and the forklift driver.

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5 Strange News Stories From This Week
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iStock

Welcome to The Weird Week in Review, where we bring you odd news stories from all over.

1. CALF GETS LASSOED FROM THE HOOD OF A POLICE CAR

When authorities got a call about a calf that was loose on Tennessee's Highway 79N, David Bevill of Paris, Tennessee, volunteered to help local police capture it. Henry County Sheriff Monte Belew drove down the highway with Bevill on the hood, ready to rope in the calf. According to a Facebook post,

Belew said the calf became loose when a man was driving through town and his cattle trailer door broke. “There were actually two that got loose, but Dr. Lyons at Mineral Wells Animal Clinic and his crew were able to get the other one,” Belew said.

“So everybody is happy—we roped one calf, Dr. Lyons got the other one and the guy who was hauling them through town is happy, too,” Belew said.

It's always handy to know a cowboy when you've got a job to do.

2. CAT STUCK IN SUPPORTS OF DOUBLE-DECKER HIGHWAY FOR NINE DAYS

Erin McCutcheon's cat Juno escaped a zippered cat carrier and jumped out of a moving car on the upper deck of I-93 in Boston on Christmas Day. McCutcheon couldn't find her cat, and so distributed posters and put out a call for help on Facebook. On Tuesday, a Local 103 crew of electricians doing maintenance work spotted Juno high above the lower deck, perched on the support girders under the upper deck. Juno had been stuck 80 feet above the highway for nine days! The crew couldn't catch the frightened feline, but eventually lured her out with cans of cat food. Juno, hungry and thirsty, went home with electrician Jay Frazier, and was later reunited with the McCutcheons.

3. MAN CARRIES SCISSORS IN BODY FOR 18 YEARS

Ma Van Nhat underwent surgery at Bac Kan Hospital in Vietnam in 1998 after suffering injuries in a traffic accident. Recently, he complained of pain in his abdomen, which doctors dismissed as a stomachache. But on December 27, during a routine checkup, a doctor determined there was a foreign object there. Last Saturday, surgeons removed a pair of surgical scissors, which had apparently been inside Nhat for 18 years. The scissors had broken and adhered to Nhat's abdominal organs. According to The Huffington Post,

The hospital’s director, Trinh Thi Luong, is now taking great pains to find out who may have left the scissors inside Nhat.

“Even if they are already retired, we will still inform them,” Luong said, according to Reuters. “This is a lesson to all doctors.”

4. MAN OPENS DOOR TO BRICK WALL

An unnamed man in Mainhausen, Germany, woke up Monday morning and got ready for work as usual—but when he opened his front door, he couldn't leave: Someone had built a brick wall over the door opening. The perpetrators had built the wall quickly and quietly during the night. He had to tear out the bricks to leave his house. Police don't know whether the wall was a prank or an act of revenge.

5. NEW SHERIFF GETS ARRESTED

The citizens of Roane County, West Virginia, elected a new sheriff in November. Bo Williams began his new job last Sunday, but on Tuesday, according to the New York Daily News, he was was arrested on charges of grand larceny for stealing meth from an evidence locker at his previous job with the Spencer, West Virginia, police department. Bags of meth with evidence numbers were found in his desk and in his car. Williams had resigned from that job after admitting to drug addiction in December. The Roane County commission removed Williams from office that same day, and asked a former sheriff to step in to run the department. Williams is out of jail on bond and may face up to 10 years in prison.

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