Check back here daily for the latest oddball stories that just may give you a chuckle or leave you scratching your head.
Police: Man crashes car to highlight dangerous intersection
CLERMONT, Fla. — Authorities say a man angered over people driving dangerously through a busy intersection appeared to intentionally cause a crash there to highlight the problem.
The Daily Commercial reports 61-year-old Bruce John Homer told Lake County Sheriff's Office deputies who responded to the Sunday afternoon accident that he was frustrated law enforcement wouldn't crack down on people running through a stop sign at the intersection.
The driver of the SUV that was hit says Homer pulled out in front of him as he was going through the intersection. The driver says Homer approached him after the crash, telling him he'd run the stop sign and law enforcement "won't do anything until someone dies."
Homer is charged with aggravated battery and reckless driving. It's unclear if he has a lawyer.
Information from: The Daily Commercial (Leesburg, Fla.), http://www.dailycommercial.com
House falls off trailer, blocks North Carolina road
STATESVILLE, N.C. — Some house movers in North Carolina thought they were getting a jump on the day. Instead, their day got longer when the house they were moving fell off a trailer and onto a road.
The North Carolina Highway Patrol told local media outlets that the house was being moved on a rural road in Iredell County just north of Statesville around 4 a.m. Wednesday when the rear wheels on the trailer slipped into a hole. When the trailer came out of the hole, the house bounced off the trailer and landed on the road.
Officials said the house had traveled around 25 miles (40 kilometers) from Troutman and was just a mile away from its destination. The Department of Transportation said clean up would take several hours.
In Alabama, Nitro the police dog creates viral workout video
GULF SHORES, Ala. — An Alabama police dog shown on video doing pushups with two officers is a big hit on the internet — and it's also intended as a public safety reminder.
Al.com reports that Nitro is a 2-year-old Dutch Shepherd who joined the Gulf Shores Police Department's canine unit in February. In a video police posted to social media, the dog raises up and down as the song "Eye of the Tiger" plays in the background.
Gulf Shores police Cpl. Josh Coleman said the seven-second video is part of a social media trend — #9PMRoutine — began by the Pasco County Sheriff's Department in Florida. Coleman said the 9 p.m. routine is one way law enforcement agencies are reminding people to remove valuables from cars and lock up at the end of the day.
Police: Prostitution ring run out of senior living facility
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Police in Massachusetts have arrested two men they say ran a prostitution ring out of an apartment at a senior living facility.
Pittsfield police say 65-year-old Joseph Van Wert and 45-year-old Randy Lambach have been held without bail pending a dangerousness hearing scheduled for Nov. 29.
Authorities say Lambach recruited drug addicts from Pittsfield, took photos of them, and posted ads on adult websites. Police say he scheduled and drove them to and from meetings with men, kept most of the proceeds, and paid the women in drugs.
Police say Van Wert used his apartment at a senior living facility as a place to conduct the prostitution.
Lambach allegedly threatened to turn the women in if they stopped working for him.
It could not immediately be determined if they have lawyers.
Animal activists disrupt Utah governor's turkey pardon
SALT LAKE CITY — Two animal-rights activists disrupted the Utah governor's Thanksgiving pardoning of a turkey Tuesday, rushing the podium and shouting as the CEO of a turkey plant spoke to a crowd of mostly children.
The two men rushed past Utah Gov. Gary Herbert and the 40-pound turkey named "Grateful" sitting placidly on a table nearby, demanding to speak to the CEO and shouting "Show us all the barns!"
Video from KUTV showed Herbert's security detail restrained the men and state troopers escorted them away from the afternoon ceremony in Salt Lake City.
Utah Highway Patrol spokesman Lt. Todd Royce said the two unidentified men were not arrested but cooperated with troopers and left the Capitol.
The men were demonstrating a day after activists released undercover photos and video showing injured, cramped, and diseased birds at Norbest turkey plant in Moroni.
The group Direct Action Everywhere said the images and including documents showing animals with hepatitis and tumors were horrific.
Norbest president and CEO Matt Cook said in a statement to The Salt Lake Tribune that the images were "disturbing" and said the company's team had ask that farm's to correct violations in the past.
Cook, who was speaking when the men rushed the stage Tuesday, said immediately afterward that "despite what some people may think, we have very clear animal care policies and our growers work very hard to adhere to those."
Herbert did not comment on the incident when he took the stage.
Paul Edwards, a spokesman for the Republican governor, said in a statement that Utah expects farmers to meet the highest safety and humane standards.
"It's unfortunate that people want to disrupt a fun tradition," Edwards said, "but, nonetheless, we appreciate that there are passionate feelings about the serious concerns that have been raised."
Edwards added: "Norbest has assured us that they have proactively addressed these issues prior to the publicity they have received, and we will be monitoring their progress closely."
This story has been corrected to show Todd Royce's title is lieutenant, not sergeant.
Baron Cohen to pay fine for Czechs sporting Borat mankinis
PRAGUE — Comic actor Sacha Baron Cohen has offered to pay the fines for six Czech tourists who were reportedly detained by authorities in Kazakhstan's capital Astana for dressing up as his character Borat.
Sporting lime green "mankinis" and black wigs, the men had hoped to take a picture in front of the "I Love Astana" sign earlier this month.
But local police fined them some $68 each for committing minor hooliganism, according to local media.
In a Facebook post on Tuesday, Baron Cohen says: "To my Czech mates who were arrested. Send me your details and proof that it was you, and I'll pay your fine."
The swimsuit became popular after Baron Cohen sported it in the 2006 movie "Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan."
That film offended many Kazakhs by portraying the country as backward and degenerate.
Newborn, mother and grandmother all share same birthday
PRINCETON, N.J. — A New Jersey family won't have trouble remembering three generations of birthdays.
A newborn, his mother and grandmother were all born on Nov. 19.
Grandmother Clara Gregory said she had a feeling her grandson was going to be born on Nov. 19, even though the baby wasn't due until Christmas. Theresa Dunn gave birth to Micah Lee Dunn at a Princeton hospital Sunday afternoon.
Dunn, of Lawrence, was admitted to the hospital Thursday night and doctors attempted to induce labor. Dunn said her husband kept saying the baby would be born on her and her mother's birthday.
"I finally came to the realization Saturday night that he could really be born on our birthday," she told NJ.com .
Dunn said she was previously diagnosed with pre-eclampsia, which causes high blood pressure in pregnant women. She said doctors were hoping to get closer to her expected due date before inducing labor.
Micah is several weeks early but is "doing amazing," Dunn said.
Dunn turned 31 on Sunday and her mother celebrated her 67th birthday.
Information from: NJ Advance Media.
Police warn people not to eat spoiled, trash-picked turkeys
FALMOUTH, Maine — A Maine police department is warning residents to steer clear of black market Butterballs.
The police department in Falmouth reports a Hannaford supermarket had to discard frozen turkeys that thawed out because of a mechanical failure. Police say the problem is that someone collected them from a trash bin with the idea of redistributing them.
Police say people should beware of the black market turkeys because they're dangerous to consume. They urge any consumers who came across them to put them in the trash where they belong.
Town moves man's loudspeaker broadcast of taps to local park
GLEN ROCK, Pa. — A Pennsylvania town has reached a detente over a former councilman's broadcast of taps through loudspeakers at his home, which had caused complaints and lawsuit threats.
The Glen Rock Borough Council voted Nov. 15 to move the nightly taps-playing to a public park as part of a veteran's memorial.
Joshua Corney, a lieutenant commander in the Navy, has been playing a recording of taps from his home nightly for about two years. Last spring, he added loudspeakers.
Several neighbors complained it created a disturbance.
Over the summer, the council restricted Corney's broadcast to Sunday nights and certain flag holidays.
The York Dispatch reports the American Civil Liberties Union threatened to sue if Corney wasn't allowed to play it.
Corney says he'll continue playing taps at home until the speakers at the Glen Rock Park are installed.
It's not clear when that will happen.
Information from: The York Dispatch, http://www.yorkdispatch.com
Santa's in town? You need an appointment this year
NEW YORK — Santa Claus may be coming to town, but you'll need a reservation to see him.
At Macy's flagship store on 34th Street in New York, a chance to sit on Saint Nick's lap is by appointment only this year, for the first time ever.
Starting Monday, eager families can go online to sign up for a time slot from 30 minutes to five days in advance. Admission is free to Santaland Herald Square and runs from the day after Thanksgiving through Christmas Eve.
Macy's says the new arrangement is intended to cut down on wait times and make it easier to see the man in the red suit.
"Santa's a popular guy, so the wait times to meet him have been quite long in previous years, especially on our busiest days," the company said.
Santaland is a 13,000-square-foot North Pole village complete with live elves and a train display, plus the world-famous Santa, immortalized in the film "Miracle on 34th Street." The store opened in 1902.
The department store says families can cancel a reservation and make a new one at any time. Spokeswoman Julie Strider said that people can also reserve a spot at a kiosk at the store.
And they say don't be too early or late for the time slot, and be sure to check in with an elf when arriving.
"Santa's day is packed! To help keep him on schedule, please arrive within your time slot," the company said.
This story has been corrected to say North Pole, not North Police, and corrected to note that people can make reservations at a kiosk in the store, not that walk-ins aren't allowed.
Scooby the camel returned to Ohio owners after getting loose
TOLEDO, Ohio — A young camel named Scooby is back at home after going on a 90-minute jaunt that blocked traffic and provided an uncommon photo opportunity for motorists in Ohio.
The Blade reports 1-year-old Scooby escaped from his fenced-in home in Springfield Township on Friday afternoon and began walking along township streets, prompting wide-eyed reaction.
A neighbor of the owner who was on her way home from work alerted the Lucas County Sheriff's Office. Owner Nabil Shaheen was then contacted and led Scooby safely home.
Shaheen said he bought Scooby as a baby and is glad no one was hurt.
Vermont town laments looming cemetery plot shortage
HARTFORD, Vt. — Some people in a Vermont town are worried the community is going to run out of available cemetery plots.
Hartford residents have been considering new strategies to preserve existing cemeteries and make sure the community doesn't run out of plots where people can rest for eternity.
Five of the 12 cemeteries located within town lines are owned by Hartford, while the others are managed by private associations, the Valley News reported. All of the town-owned cemeteries are closed to new burials.
Ann Collins, 80, of the Quechee Cemetery Association, said that with fewer plot sales, diminished interest earnings and flat town funding, her association has been forced to dip into its endowment to pay operating costs.
"As the older people have died off, the younger generation is not as interested in carrying on," said Collins, whose parents are buried in one of the cemeteries the association owns.
The association's budget includes $5,000 annually from the town, interest from an endowment of about $40,000, and $600 each time a burial plot is purchased.
Under Vermont law, if any cemetery association collapses, the town inherits the responsibility of maintaining that cemetery.
"I think it's going to come to that point," said Collins. "Eventually, any income is going to run out."
Hartford Town Manager Leo Pullar said the accelerating plight of the private cemetery associations, and concern that the town will run out of burial space, has spurred new interest.
"I'm optimistic there," Pullar said.
Zoo throwing farewell party for beloved gorilla
BOSTON — A Boston zoo is holding a farewell party for a beloved gorilla that's heading to another zoo in New Orleans to start his own family.
Officials at the Franklin Park Zoo on Saturday will be celebrating Okpara, a 24-year-old male Western lowland gorilla affectionately called "Okie." He will soon be heading to the Audubon Zoo in Louisiana.
The Boston zoo is inviting patrons to sign a farewell card, enjoy free cake and learn about gorilla conservation.
Okie's move is part of the zoo's participation in the national Gorilla Species Survival Plan, an inter-zoo program meant to ensure survival of the species.
Western lowland gorillas are considered critically endangered in the wild. They're found in Cameroon, Gabon, Equatorial Guinea, Republic of Congo, Angola, Central African Republic and Nigeria.
100 full moons: Blazing fireball lights up Arctic sky
COPENHAGEN, Denmark — A blazing fireball lit up the dark skies of Arctic Finland for five seconds, giving off what scientists said was "the glow of 100 full moons" and igniting hurried attempts to find the reported meteorite.
Finnish experts were scrambling to calculate its trajectory and find where it landed, according to Tomas Kohout of the University of Helsinki's physics department, who said Thursday night's fireball "seems to have been one of the brightest ones."
It produced a blast wave that felt like an explosion about 6:40 p.m. and could also be seen in northern Norway and in Russia's Kola peninsula, he told The Associated Press on Saturday.
It might have weighed about 100 kilograms (220 pounds), according to Nikolai Kruglikov of Yekaterinburg's Urals Federal University.
"We believe it didn't disintegrate but reached a remote corner of Finland," Kohout said, adding that any search plans for the meteorite must face the fact that "right now we don't have much daylight" — four hours, to be precise.
The Norwegian meteorite network said the fireball "had the glow of 100 full moons" and likely was going northeast, perhaps "to the Norwegian peninsula of Varanger," north of where the borders of Russia, Finland and Norway meet.
Kohout said scientists looked forward to any space debris they can get their hands on.
"We are happy to recover (it) since this is a unique opportunity to get otherwise inaccessible space material," said Kohout. "This is why it's worth it to search for them."
Viktor Troshenkov of the Russian Academy of Sciences told the Tass news agency that the fireball could be part of a prolific meteor shower known as the Leonids, which peaks at this time of year. He said he felt Thursday's fireball likely wasn't the sole meteorite but others maybe were not seen due to thick clouds elsewhere.
Troshenkov told Tass that meteor showers can be even stronger. The Leonids reach their maximum once every 33 years — and the last time that happened was in 1998, he said. Amateur astronomers in the Arctic then saw about 1,000 meteors, 40 meteorites and one fireball in just one night.
In 2013, a meteorite streaked across the Russian sky and exploded over the Ural Mountains with the power of an atomic bomb, its sonic blasts shattering countless windows and injuring about 1,100 people. Many were cut by flying glass as they flocked to windows, curious about what had produced such a blinding flash of light.
The 2013 Chelyabinsk meteorite was estimated to be about 10 tons when it entered the Earth's atmosphere at a hypersonic speed of at least 54,000 kph (33,000 mph). It shattered into pieces about 30-50 kilometers (18-32 miles) above the ground but some meteorite chunks were found in a Russian lake.
A meteoroid is smaller than a kilometer (0.62 mile), and often so small that when it enters the Earth's atmosphere it vaporizes and never reaches the ground. A meteor is a flash of light caused by a meteoroid that fails to get through the Earth's atmosphere. If part of it does survive, that's called a meteorite.
Asteroids are generally larger chunks of rock that come from the asteroid belt located between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter.