This week in odd news: Baby Frankenstein; Tears for beers
By RICHARD A. SOMMA
Nov. 03, 2017
BERLIN (AP) — A worried resident in Germany alerted police to what he thought was a World War II bomb in his garden. Officers rushed over — and found a particularly large zucchini.
Police were summoned to the scene in Bretten, near the southwestern city of Karlsruhe, on Thursday morning by an 81-year-old man.
They said in a statement Friday that officers determined "the object, which really did look very like a bomb" was actually a 40-centimeter (nearly 16-inch) zucchini.
The offending vegetable, which was very dark in color, weighed about five kilograms (11 pounds). Police believe someone threw it over a hedge into the garden.
Unexploded wartime bombs are unearthed frequently during construction work in Germany, often forcing authorities to evacuate tens of thousands of residents while they are defused.
LAKELAND, Fla. (AP) — A 53-year-old woman riding a horse down a busy Florida highway has been arrested and charged with driving drunk.
Polk County Sheriff's officials said in a news release that someone called 911 about a woman, who appeared confused and possibly in danger. When deputies arrived they found Donna Byrne riding her horse in the road.
Officers did a sobriety test and said she gave breath samples that registered blood alcohol level of .161 — much higher than Florida's legal limit of .08.
Byrne is charged with DUI and animal neglect for endangering and failing to provide proper protection for the horse.
Deputies took the horse to the Polk County Sheriff's Animal Control livestock facility. She was booked into the Polk County Jail. It's unclear whether she retained an attorney.
ALTOONA, Pa. (AP) — A Pennsylvania gynecologist says she has been inundated with calls from men trying to set up appointments after hearing she was permitted to prescribe medical marijuana.
Dr. Liang Bartkowiak tells the Altoona Mirror she was mentioned in the media as being eligible to certify medical marijuana users, and then her office phone started ringing off the hook. It was primarily men on the line.
Bartkowiak tells the newspaper she was shocked, since she's an OB-GYN who treats women exclusively.
A 2016 state law gives people under a doctor's care access to medical marijuana if they suffer from an illness on a list of 17 qualifying conditions.
The law permits pills, oils, vapor or liquid marijuana, but not marijuana in plant form.
Doctors must certify the illness and patients must obtain an identification card from the Health Department.
WHITE CREEK, N.Y. (AP) — New York State Police say they've charged a 48-year-old woman with stealing $250 worth of baked goods from an order of nuns known for their cheesecake.
Troopers say the theft occurred last month at the Nuns of New Skete monastery in the rural town of White Creek, on the Vermont border, 35 miles northeast of Albany.
The nuns sell their cheesecakes and pastries on the honor system at the monastery's unstaffed gift shop. Police say surveillance cameras caught two women taking merchandise without leaving money in the drop box.
Troopers say surveillance photos released earlier this week and social media postings of the images led to the arrest of a woman from North Arlington, Vermont. The other woman was identified as her 21-year-old daughter, who wasn't charged.
The cheesecakes sell for $49 and up.
WINTER PARK, Fla. (AP) — A Florida couple got an extra treat on Halloween — a baby Frankenstein.
Make that Oskar Gary Frankenstein, who made his entrance into the world four days late and after 14 hours of labor on Tuesday at Winter Park Memorial Hospital.
Parents Kyle and Jessica Frankenstein tell news outlets that Baby Frankenstein weighed in at 6 pounds, 9 ounces and is 20 inches long.
The baby's grandmother Jennifer Frankenstein tells WKMG the family is "super excited." She said Oskar is her first grandchild and the Frankenstein family's first baby born on Halloween, although she does have a 13-year-old daughter who shares the same birthday as "Frankenstein" author Mary Shelley
Winter Park is near Orlando in central Florida.
BERLIN (AP) — It's legal to drink beer in German movie theaters — but it's probably not a good idea to try to open your beer bottle with a pepper spray canister.
However, that's exactly what a thirsty moviegoer tried doing at a cinema Monday night in the northwestern German town of Osnabrueck.
Instead of opening his beer, the 29-year-old man broke his pepper spray container and some 200 people had to quickly leave the theater in tears.
The cinema's manager told the German news agency dpa on Wednesday that it was "chaos." Still, he kept his head, calling police, offering beverages to moviegoers and opening the windows. He says the movie was restarted after 30 minutes.
Police say so far no moviegoers have complained about eye or breathing problems.
ALPENA, Mich. (AP) — Authorities say it didn't take long for them to catch a woman suspected of stealing cash from a northern Michigan restaurant, since she'd just filled out a job application at the eatery.
Michigan State Police were told a 47-year-old Alpena woman filled out the application at Mandarin Garden in Alpena County this week, and then took money out of the cash register. WHSB-FM reports she was confronted by employees and fled, but police say they quickly found her at home.
She was arrested and is expected to face charges including larceny. The stolen money was recovered and returned to the restaurant.
WARREN, Ohio (AP) — Police in Ohio say they're looking for a man who pulled out a gun after being told by a McDonald's drive-thru worker there were no Egg McMuffin sandwiches available.
Police say the incident occurred shortly after 3:30 a.m. Wednesday at a McDonald's in Warren, about 60 miles southeast of Cleveland.
The worker told police that two men inside the car appeared to be around 20 years old. She said the driver called her a vulgar name after pulling out the gun and then cursed at her again before driving away.
Warren police hope to identify the men using surveillance video footage.
GLOUCESTER, Mass. (AP) — Spotting a 400-pound tuna in the Massachusetts seaport of Gloucester, known as America's oldest seaport, is not unusual. But finding a headless tuna in the woods is a bit odd.
State Environmental Police and federal fisheries regulators are trying to figure out who dumped the headless fish, which had to be hauled out of the trees by a tow truck.
Authorities won't say exactly when the tuna was found or who tipped them off.
But Ally Rogers, a spokeswoman for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Fisheries Office for Law Enforcement, tells the Gloucester Daily Times that the fish was illegally harvested.
The tuna season runs from early June to November.
Maj. Patrick Moran of the Environmental Police says he's never before had to investigate a tuna in the woods.
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — She knows how to pick a winner.
Local media report that Kimberly Morris of Wake Forest scratched off two North Carolina lottery tickets on Monday, winning $1 million on one of the tickets and $10,000 with another.
Morris thought things were going well when she bought a ticket at a grocery store Monday afternoon and scratched off the $10,000 prize. She went to the lottery headquarters in Raleigh to claim her prize.
On the way home, she stopped and bought another ticket, and bingo! It was worth $1 million.
She chose to take the lump sum on the $1 million ticket, which was worth $417,012 after taxes.
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — Officials say a Kentucky man pretending to be a police officer is facing charges after pulling over a real officer.
News outlets cited an arrest warrant in reporting that a Louisville police officer was driving his personal vehicle when 24-year-old Brandon Hurley began driving toward him Saturday with flashing lights and a honking horn.
The warrant says the officer pulled over and Hurley asked him if he knew how fast he was going.
When the officer identified himself as working for the Louisville police force, Hurley said he wouldn't write him a ticket and left the scene.
Police said the officer got Hurley's license plate number and he was arrested Tuesday on charges of impersonating a peace officer and wanton endangerment.
Jail records don't indicate whether he has an attorney.
SAUKVILLE, Wis. (AP) — A Wisconsin woman is facing charges after her 9-year-old son was tied to the roof of their minivan to help hold down a plastic pool.
Prosecutors allege 28-year-old Amber Schmunk had her son hold down the molded pool they'd just purchased because it wouldn't fit inside the van. WISN-TV reports a witness called police after seeing the incident on Sept. 9 in Saukville, about 20 miles north of Milwaukee.
Police documents allege Schmunk told an officer she thought it was OK because her father allowed her to do similar things when she was young.
Schmunk is charged with recklessly endangering safety, which is a felony. She's due in Ozaukee County Circuit Court on Nov. 11.
Court records don't list an attorney who could speak on her behalf.
WADSWORTH, Ohio (AP) — Police say a man being sentenced in a road rage case walked out of an Ohio courtroom, jumped in a car and led police on a chase before crashing into an SUV.
Authorities say a couple and their baby were hurt in the crash near Akron, along with the 19-year-old suspect. The injuries weren't serious.
Police say Cyrus Matthews, of Cleveland, had just been sentenced to 60 days in jail when he looked around the courtroom and quickly walked out Wednesday.
Matthews wasn't handcuffed and there were no police in courtroom. A bailiff gave chase and the judge yelled for Matthews to come back.
Police say he then jumped into a car outside the court and took off.
Court records don't say whether Matthews has an attorney.
SAPULPA, Okla. (AP) — A small-town Oklahoma newspaper publisher found a startling front-page story practically in his newsroom: There was a hissing bobcat in the bathroom.
Sapulpa Herald publisher Darren Sumner says the wild animal jumped at him one recent morning as he was heading into the restroom at his office in Sapulpa, a Tulsa suburb.
Sumner shut the door and trapped the adult male cat inside until police and a game warden arrived. Wildlife control workers captured the bobcat in a cage and released it in nearby Pawnee County.
Neither Sumner nor the wild cat was injured in the confrontation.
Sumner said the animal likely got into his building through an open door.
LEECHBURG, Pa. (AP) — Police say a man who was at a Pennsylvania judge's office to pay court fines stole a wallet that was near the payment window and used the cash inside to pay his fees.
Allegheny Township Patrolman Kerry Myers tells the Tribune-Review surveillance cameras caught the actions of Steven Rago.
Rago was out on bail on simple assault charges and was at a district court judge's offices on Thursday to pay fees.
Myers says video shows the 31-year-old Rago putting a wallet into his sweat shirt pocket. He's seen later paying the fine with cash.
Police say he admitted to having the wallet and returned it. He paid back the money, but his bail was rescinded due to the new theft charge.
Rago was transported to county prison ahead of a preliminary hearing on the simple assault charges.
No attorney is listed.
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — A New Mexico brewery that uses the Route 66 in its name is facing a faces a lawsuit from a European company that says it owns the beer sales and marketing trademark for the famed American highway.
Henry Lackey, the owner of the Route 66 Junkyard Brewery in the town of Grants, New Mexico, said this week that he is fighting the federal lawsuit filed earlier this year by Lodestar Anstalt — a company incorporated in the tiny European nation of Liechtenstein with headquarters on the Mediterranean island nation of Cyprus.
Lackey's brewery is on Route 66 and he said in an interview with The Associated Press he does not believe a European company should have a say in how the historic U.S. highway's name is used.
According to the lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court in Albuquerque, Lodestar owns the U.S. trademark for Route 66 beers in the country and the trademark for the highway's logo-type "shield" that go on labels for beer.
Lodestar's attorney, Warren Bleeker, said the company filed the proper trademark requirements with U.S. officials, must enforce its rights and wants Lackey to change the bar's name.
Lackey said he was in discussions with Bleeker after receiving a cease and desist letter but cut off talks after the company sued him.
"You're not going to punch me in the mouth and expect me to back down," said Lackey. "Once you punch me in the mouth the fight's on."
In his response to the lawsuit, Lackey said Lodestar "should not be allowed to use an iconic name, 'Route 66' as a trademark because it contributed nothing to what makes 'Route 66' great to all Americans."
Lackey said his brewery doesn't make a beer named after Route 66 but has the name on its brewery. Its beers are named after car parts.
Other New Mexico brewers have named beers named after Route 66, and those brewers have not faced legal action, Lackey said.
"It's just friendly competition and all in good fun," said Lackey, who grew up around the famed highway.
WAILUKU, Hawaii (AP) — A judge on the Hawaiian island of Maui has handed down an unorthodox sentence to a man who pleaded no contest to violating a protection order preventing him from contacting his ex-girlfriend.
Judge Rhonda Loo ordered Daren Young on Friday to write 144 compliments about his ex-girlfriend, in response to the 144 "nasty" text messages and calls that he is accused of sending her.
"For every nasty thing you said about her, you're going to say a nice thing," Loo told Young. "No repeating words."
Young, 30, received time served for spending 157 days in jail before being sentenced, the Maui News reported . Besides being told to pay the compliments, he also received two years of probation, $2,400 in fines and 200 hours of community service.
"It's so childish to think a grown man can be so thumb-happy," Loo said.
Young told Loo he will not reach out to the ex-girlfriend again and is moving forward with his life.
She sought the protection order, which was issued Feb. 22. He was ordered not to contact her, including by phone.
But two months later, Young called and texted her 144 times within a three-hour period, police said.
"I don't know whether I should cut off your fingers or take away your phone to get you to stop texting," Loo told Young. "You probably shouldn't get a phone, period. I hope she changed her number."
GRANDIN, N.D. (AP) — A Fargo man ended up inadvertently "plowing" a short section of Interstate 29 in Cass County when the chisel plow he was pulling with a tractor struck an overpass.
The Highway Patrol says the man was traveling from a field near Grandin to a Horace-area farm midday Tuesday when the 16-foot-tall plow hit the bottom of an overpass. The bridge wasn't damaged, but the impact pushed the plow spades into the roadway and resulted in some deep gouges to the surface.
The driver wasn't injured, but he was cited for violating height restrictions.
LONDON (AP) — A judge on the Great British Bake Off, a widely watched television cooking competition in the U.K., has been forced to apologize after revealing the winner hours before the final episode was scheduled to air.
Prue Leith posted the name of the winner on her Twitter feed while traveling in Bhutan, which is six hours ahead of Britain, thinking that fans had already seen the last installment.
Leith, 77, later tweeted: "I am so sorry to the fans of the show for my mistake this morning. I am in a different time zone and mortified by my error."
The Great British Bake Off has a strong hold on the U.K. public — last year, nine of the country's top ten TV programs were episodes of the series, with the finale being watched by nearly 16 million viewers. Contestants who win the Bake Off often become national celebrities, appearing on other TV shows and at charity events.
Channel 4 scored a coup earlier this year when it bought the rights to Bake Off. The program is such a hit that the fact the season finale landed on Halloween this year did not daunt TV executives.
Some Britons took to Twitter in anguish Tuesday over hearing the news of the winner before the show, with one commentator writing that Leith "nailed it" as a clown for Halloween.
The show aired Tuesday night in Britain and the title was won by baker Sophie Faldo.
YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (AP) — An Ohio university has apparently set a world record for the number of people dressed in penguin costumes.
The Vindicator reports 972 Youngstown State University students, alumni and community members gathered on the school's campus Saturday in their best penguin finery to celebrate the school's 50th anniversary as a university.
Youngstown State's nickname is the Penguins.
Saturday's waddle of faux birds apparently broke a mark recognized by the Guinness Book of World Records when 624 people dressed as penguins gathered at a children's hospice in England in 2015
One of the organizers of Saturday's event said half of the participants were school alumni.
METAIRIE, La. (AP) — Authorities say a woman accused of pepper-spraying patrons at a Chuck E. Cheese's in Louisiana has been arrested.
Nola.com/The Times-Picayune reports a deputy working a security detail was at the front of the Metairie Chuck E. Cheese's restaurant on Sunday when someone notified him about an argument that was getting out of hand. The deputy spotted the woman "indiscriminately spraying pepper spray."
Jefferson Parish Sheriff's Office spokesman Lt. Jason Rivarde says paramedics treated five adults and two children for exposure at the scene.
Police arrested 24-year-old Katarian Marshall and charged her with disturbing the peace by fighting. It's unclear if she has a lawyer.
WEEHAWKEN, N.J. (AP) — A New Jersey couple is suing a construction company after they say they found bottles of urine, rodents and rotten food inside the walls of their newly purchased $2 million luxury condominium.
NJ.com reports the couple's holding company, Shiloh Holding, filed the suit last week after they said they discovered the urine and food during renovations at the luxury unit in Weehawken.
They are also alleging the property's windows were fraudulently advertised as hurricane-proof.
A company representative says the firm doesn't comment on pending litigation.
The couple's attorney says they are seeking up to $6 million in damages.
RIVERSIDE, Calif. (AP) — Halloween started early in one Southern California city, where a man dressed as Forrest Gump has been running around neighborhoods and stopping to take pictures with residents.
Video and a photo from police show the man sporting a mangy fake beard, red shorts and a red "Bubba Gump" hat during his jogs around the city of Riverside. It's the same outfit worn by Tom Hanks in the 1994 Oscar-winning film "Forrest Gump." Hanks' character spends part of the movie running across the country.
The man identified himself to KABC-TV only as Forrest Gump. He added that "it doesn't really matter" who he is. He says his runs are "just something that took off and made the community happy, made people smile."
TOKYO (AP) — A marketing company in Tokyo is awarding a novel perk to its non-puffing employees: an extra week's holiday for nonsmokers.
The corporate planning director for Piala, Hirotaka Matsushima, said Thursday that the company began offering the six days of extra vacation to all of its 120 staff members in September.
"Yes, it's pretty popular," said Matsushima, himself a nonsmoker.
He said the policy was installed as a benefit for nonsmokers to compensate for smoking breaks taken by their colleagues. About two-thirds of the company's employees don't smoke, he said.
Overall, smoking is still quite prevalent in Japan, with almost 20 percent of over-20-year-olds saying they smoke. Nearly 40 percent of men in their 30s smoke, though that's down from more than half in 2001, according to government figures.
But most office workers must do their puffing in designated smoking rooms and outdoor areas, and cities are gradually imposing limits on outdoor smoking in public areas. But most restaurants and bars still allow smoking.
Piala, established in 2004, says it provides advertising and automated marketing services for direct marketers and other companies.
RIVERSIDE, Calif. (AP) — A lizard that can grow to be 8 feet long has been found in Southern California, thousands of miles from its native land, and authorities think it's a pet gone astray.
The 4-foot-long crocodile monitor was spotted sunning itself on top of a hedge Wednesday afternoon in the backyard of a Riverside home.
The crocodile monitor is a relative of the famous Komodo dragon. It's native to Papua New Guinea and Indonesia — not California — but it is legal to own them in the state.
It's green and yellow with big claws, a long tail and a forked tongue.
The big lizard is now being held by Riverside County's animal services division. If the owner doesn't claim it, the monitor will be sent to a sanctuary for exotic animals.