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Off the Wire
May 1  |  By William Mathis Associated Press
Airport bathrooms for pets include a fire hydrant
NEW YORK — Little Simba couldn’t wait to check it out.The toy poodle was among the first to try a special bathroom just for animals at New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport, among a growing number of “pet relief facilities” being installed at major air hubs across the nation.“There’s a fire hydrant in there!” Simba’s owner, Heidi Liddell, announced as she opened the pawprint-marked door between the men’s and women’s rooms.

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April 29  |  Associated Press
Weasel knocks out world’s largest atom smasher
GENEVA — It’s one of the physics world’s most complex machines, and it has been immobilized — temporarily — by a weasel.Spokesman Arnaud Marsollier said the world’s largest atom smasher, the Large Hadron Collider at CERN outside of Geneva, has suspended operations because a weasel invaded a transformer that helps power the machine and set off an electrical outage Friday.

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April 25  |  Associated Press
Idaho official: Kobe Bryant’s remarks help save potato truck
EAGLE, Idaho — Kobe Bryant’s recent mention of the Great Big Idaho Potato Truck might have helped save the traveling advertisement from a premature retirement, according to the head of a state agency that promotes Idaho potatoes.The recently retired Los Angeles Lakers guard remarked on the red truck while talking with an ESPN reporter during one of his final games, The Capital Press reported.

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April 16  |  By Nick Perry Associated Press
With this rigatoni, I thee wed: The 1st Pastafarian wedding The wedding rings were made of pasta, the ceremony was held on a pirate boat, and when it came time for the kiss, the bride and groom slurped up either end of a noodle until their lips met.

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April 14  |  Associated Press
Sleepwalking nun faces DUI charge
WASHINGTON TOWNSHIP, N.J. — A Philadelphia nun facing drunken driving charges said she had a sedative and doesn’t remember crashing her car into a New Jersey building.Sister Kimberly Miller testified Wednesday at her trial in Washington Township that she had a glass of wine and an Ambien before bed but woke up in handcuffs.Miller, a librarian and theology teacher at Little Flower Catholic School in Philadelphia, was arrested in November after she drove her car into an auto repair shop.

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April 12  |  Associated Press
BELLINGHAM — Officials say flights were delayed at Bellingham International Airport after a marijuana grinder designed to resemble a grenade was found in a man’s carry-on luggage.The Bellingham Herald reported that Transportation Security Administration spokeswoman Lorie Dankers says the camouflage object was found Saturday morning inside luggage passing through screening equipment.

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April 9  |  By Niraj Chokshi The Washington Post
"Calling Sweden, you will soon be connected to a random Swede."

Those are the first words one hears when dialing the "Swedish Number," a new hotline created to connect callers with local residents. A few flat tones later and the caller is patched through to, well, a random Swede.

One such call late Thursday morning connected with David Lamm, a product designer from the nation's second most-populous city, Gothenburg. Lamm, who speaks...

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March 4  |  Associated Press
EMBDEN, Maine — A Maine town that spends hundreds of dollars annually to replace stolen street signs is again asking residents to consider renaming one of the frequent targets: Katie Crotch Road.The Morning Sentinel reports a referendum to rename Katie Crotch Road to Cadie Road is being considered in Embden in Somerset County. Residents are sorting out the matter with a vote Friday and a town meeting Saturday.

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February 19  |  The Washington Post
Monkeys just want to have fun — and brandish dangerous weapons.

At least that's what a group of bar patrons in Patos, Brazil, learned earlier this month, when a capuchin monkey ambled inside and proceeded to sample leftover rum on the tables, UPI and the Brazilian news website aRede reported.

After the long-tailed creature had guzzled its fill, it somehow came into possession of a kitchen knife almost as long as its body. With the powerful weapon in hand,...

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February 12  |  Associated Press
Church can pay for boiler system with prayers MOSCOW — A Russian regional court has ruled that an Orthodox Church diocese can repay part of an outstanding debt in prayers rather than money.

In a ruling that went viral Thursday, the Nizhegorodsky Regional Court said the local Russian Orthodox Church diocese can repay 258,000 rubles ($3,244) it owes for the installation of a boiler system — along with an additional 65,000 rubles ($817) in fines and legal fees — by praying for the health of the company...

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February 9  |  Orlando Sentinel
Racy Beyonce song gives Red Lobster a bump ORLANDO, Fla. — Red Lobster’s surprise mention in a new Beyonce song is showing the Orlando-based restaurant chain the power of pop music, and the fickle nature of social media.

Red Lobster spokeswoman Erica Ettori said a mention in the song "Formation" released over the weekend resulted in a 33 percent increase in Sunday business compared to Super Bowl Sunday 2015.



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February 4  |  
$63 million lottery ticket about to expire LOS ANGELES — With hours to go and $63 million on the line, the mystery remains: Where's the winning California Lottery ticket and why hasn't somebody cashed it?

Lottery spokesman Alex Traverso said Wednesday that even he wants to know why the SuperLotto Plus winner let six months pass without claiming the prize.



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January 30  |  Detroit Free Press
DETROIT — Have a beer? Ogle nudity? Toss a dwarf?Those choices are featured at a strip club in Detroit called the Toy Chest.It’s all in fun, with a dwarf who’s a paid professional, wears a helmet and gets harmlessly pitched by participants onto air mattresses, the topless bar’s spokeswoman Alissa Katzman said. A $10 cover charge gets patrons inside and $5 enters them in the dwarf-tossing contest, Katzman said.

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January 20  |  By Robin Givhan The Washington Post
What was going on with Sarah Palin’s sweater?
Sarah Palin returned to center stage of a presidential campaign Tuesday -- a few years older but still wearing her signature rimless eyeglasses. Her auburn hair is bouncier. And her keen ability to capture the spotlight is not at all diminished.

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January 10  |  By Verena Dobnik Associated Press
New Yorkers, others on public transit strip to underwear
NEW YORK — Thousands of New Yorkers thought it was a hot thing Sunday to strip to their underwear during winter and ride on public transportation, along with pantless crowds in about 60 countries.“I’m a no-pant virgin,” declared a grinning Miguel Ramos amid New York’s No Pants Subway Ride. It was the Mexican-born restaurant worker’s first foray into the “international celebration of silliness,” as organizers billed it.

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January 8  |  Associated Press
No buyers for Trump deli special
BURLINGTON, Vt. — Workers at a Vermont deli near where Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump appeared say they didn’t sell any of the bologna sandwich specials concocted in his honor.The sandwich was on sale for $20.16 at the Kountry Kart Deli, next door to the Flynn Center for the Performing Arts. Trump appeared there Thursday.The Trump sandwich is bologna on white bread with American cheese, lettuce, tomato, deli mustard and bacon slices, abbreviated B.S.

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December 30  |  Associated Press
ALBANY, N.Y. — A New York company said it will soon offer the first certified kosher medical pot.Vireo Health said its non-smokable medical cannabis products have been certified as conforming to the Jewish dietary law by the Orthodox Union.Vireo said it’s the first time a medical cannabis product has been deemed kosher.

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December 13  |  By William Mathis Associated Press
Head-scratching over gifts? How about part of a human skull? NEW YORK — What to get the loved one who has everything? Steven Rabinowitz wracked his brain before settling on (spoiler alert, relatives!) a raccoon skull.

"We'll see how it goes," Rabinowitz, 31, said as he revealed his purchase near a crowded display of animal skulls, antique medical instruments — and a bowl full of human teeth.

The bizarre bazaar that drew Rabinowitz and other curious clientele Sunday was the Morbid Anatomy Museum...

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December 8  |  Associated Press
PALM BAY, Fla. — Authorities say a man who may have hidden as officers investigated reports of two suspicious men in a Florida community targeted by recent burglaries was killed by an 11-foot alligator.

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December 4  |  Associated Press
Bud Weisser cited in trespassing at Budweiser ST. LOUIS — St. Louis police said the Budweiser brewery got an unwelcome visit from a man with a memorable name.

Nineteen-year-old Bud Weisser was cited for trespassing and resisting arrest. Police said he was found in a secured area of the brewery Thursday evening.

Police said officers were called after security officers told Weisser to leave and he resisted arrest.

Weisser was taken into police custody, then issued summonses for trespassing...

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December 1  |  Associated Press
Serbs to Steven Seagal: Don’t bash us, train us
BELGRADE, Serbia — Steven Seagal used to overwhelm Russian and Serbian bad guys in Hollywood movies with his martial arts techniques. Now Serbia wants him to share his secrets.Serbian officials offered the veteran American actor and producer a job Tuesday training Serbian special police forces in Aikido, a Japanese martial art that Seagal is famous for in his blockbuster movies.

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November 18  |  Associated Press
'Isis' bookstore in Colorado vandalized ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — A Denver-area store called Isis Books & Gifts wants the world to know its name comes from the Egyptian goddess of healing and motherhood, and it isn't a retail store run by terrorists.

Co-owner Jeff Harrison said the suburban Denver store has been vandalized five times in the past year or so, probably by people who mistake the name for ISIS, one of the acronyms for the Islamic State terrorist group.

The latest vandalism came last...

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November 13  |  Associated Press
Pastafarian gets to wear strainer on head in license photo
BOSTON — A Massachusetts agency is letting a woman who belongs to the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster wear a colander on her head in her driver’s license photo after she cited her religious beliefs.Lowell resident Lindsay Miller said Friday that she “absolutely loves the history and the story” of Pastafarians, whose website says has existed in secrecy for hundreds of years and entered the mainstream in 2005.

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November 12  |  The Washington Post
How do you smuggle Heineken into Saudi Arabia? Legally, alcohol is banned in Saudi Arabia. In reality, however, there are people in the country who drink.

If you're wondering how exactly they actually get that alcohol, consider the multiple reports in the Saudi press Thursday that describe how the Saudi authorities at the border with United Arab Emirates caught a man with 48,000 cans of Heineken — all disguised as Pepsi cola.



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