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Thursday, Aug. 7, 2014 12:01 am

Dummy prize

Curses, foiled again
Police investigating a burglary in Lakewood, Wash., found a plaque on the front lawn of the home naming Alfred J. Shropshire III, 49, as a local car dealer’s “Salesperson of the Month.” When questioned, Shropshire confirmed the award was his and was charged with the crime. (United Press International)

Police charged Perry Martin, 55, with burglarizing two cars in Delray Beach, Fla., after surveillance video showed a man wearing a shirt that said “I Got Wood LLC” and gave a phone number. Police called the number and reached the I Got Wood flooring company, whose owner viewed the video and identified the man as Martin, an employee. (South Florida Sun Sentinel)

Dummy prize
Satellite photos revealed that Iran is building a nonworking model of a U.S. nuclear-powered aircraft carrier, which intelligence officials believe is intended to be blown up for propaganda purposes. The two-thirds-scale replica resembles one of the Navy’s Nimitz-class carriers and has the Nimitz’s number 68 painted on the bow. Photos also show mock aircraft on the flight deck. “Based on our observations, this is not a functioning aircraft carrier,” Navy Cmdr. Jason Salata said. “It’s a large barge built to look like an aircraft carrier. (The New York Times)

Dead or alive
When the wife and son of one of India’s wealthiest Hindu spiritual leaders reported that he died from a heart attack, his followers refused to let the family take his body for cremation because they insist that he is still alive. According to the disciples of His Holiness Shri Ashutosh Maharaj, the founder of the Divya Jyoti Jagrati Sansthan religious order, he is “in deep meditative state.” They are storing his body in a deep freezer in a guarded room to preserve it until he decides to awaken. His son, Dilip Jha, 40, claims that his father’s followers are keeping the body to retain control of his fortune, estimated at 100 million pounds. Local government officials in Punjab state called the dispute a spiritual matter and said that the guru’s followers cannot be forced to believe he is dead. (Britain’s Daily Telegraph)

Blowing smoke
Conservatives are customizing their pickup trucks to spew black smoke into the air to protest environmentalists and Obama administration emissions regulations. The diesel trucks, called “coal rollers,” are modified with chimney exhaust stacks and equipment that can force extra fuel into the engine, causing black smoke to pour out. Popular targets of the choking exhaust are drivers of hybrids and Japanese-made cars. “The feeling around here is that everyone who drives a small car is a liberal,” a coal roller named Ryan told the online news website Vocativ, which reported that Facebook pages dedicated to rolling coal had 16,000 followers as of July 1. (Business Insider)

Slightest provocation
Kenneth Chambers, 52, was charged with choking and, though toothless, biting his roommate in Lakewood, Wash., after she refused his request to clean his ear. (Seattle’s KOMO-TV)

Instant karma
After Joseph H. Carl, 48, drove his pickup truck into the rear of a vehicle stopped at a traffic light in Gainesville, Fla., police said Carl jumped out and began banging on the other driver’s window. The frightened driver pulled away, and Carl’s truck, which he had forgotten to shift into park, rolled forward and ran over Carl, who failed field sobriety tests and was arrested after being treated at the hospital for foot and hand fractures. (The Gainesville Sun)

The judge presiding over the burglary trial of Bobby Lee Pearson, 37, in Fresno, Calif., said he had no choice but to release the defendant after the jury mistakenly signed a not-guilty form. Pearson went to his sister’s home to get some belongings, police said, but got into a fight with his sister’s boyfriend. Later, Pearson was found dead of a stab wound, and police arrested the boyfriend, Willie Gray, 35. After police noted that Pearson might still be alive were it not for the jury’s mistake, prosecutor William Terrence commented, “There’s not a death penalty on a burglary. I’m not sitting here thinking he got what he deserved.” (Associated Press)

A worker installing signs limiting parking to 75 minutes on a downtown street in Santa Barbara, Calif., was ticketed for parking more than 75 minutes to do the job. “I was dumbfounded,” Dan Greding explained. “I said, ‘But I’m putting these signs up,’ and he (the officer) says, “Then you should know you can’t park here more than 75 minutes.’” (Santa Barbara’s KEYT-TV)

Zombies can’t fly
The federal government is authorized to list people on its no-fly list of “known or suspected terrorists” even after they’re known to be dead, according to a leaked document from the National Counterterrorism Center. There only has to be a “reasonable suspicion” that someone else is using their identity. (Washington, D.C.’s The Hill)

Second-Amendment follies
Mark Ramiro, 30, fatally shot his 28-year-old friend while testing a bulletproof vest in Baltimore, Md. A third person recorded the “Jackass”-style incident, during which the victim bragged that he is about to take a “deuce deuce in the chest.” Ramiro then fired a .22-caliber pistol while standing in front of the victim, but the bullet hit above the vest. Noting that the incident “was a deliberate videotaped shooting of someone by point-blank range,” Assistant State’s Attorney David Chiu said after Ramiro was charged with murder that his “motivation was fame and glory on the web.” (The Baltimore Sun)

This will not end well
Beginning this fall, University of South Florida students will be able to check out drones from the Tampa campus library, ostensibly to use for school projects. Faculty members said they hope the remote-controlled aircraft will help students reach new academic heights, although USF assistant director for instructional services Maryellen Allen cautioned, “I think you’re going to have to have a pretty good justification and outline exactly why you need it and what you’re going to do with it.” (Tampa Bay’s WTSP-TV)

Saving (yype)face
After a middle-school student’s science-fair project showed that his Pittsburgh-area school district could save $21,000 a year by switching to Garamond typeface for its printed documents, he took his experiment a step further and concluded that the U.S. government could save $136 million a year by using the thinner font. “Ink is two times more expensive than French perfume by volume,” Suvir Mirchandani, 14, said. Gary Somerset of the Government Printing Office called Mirchandani’s research “remarkable” but wouldn’t say whether the GPO might consider changing fonts. (CNN)

Compiled from mainstream news sources by Roland Sweet. Authentication on demand.

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