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Weird News

    Authorities have arrested a woman in Florida who they say tried to attack another woman with a knife when she was denied a slice of pizza. The St. Augustine Record reports 22-year-old De'Erica Cooks is accused of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon without intent to kill. The St. Johns County Sheriff's Office said Cooks became angry after another woman denied her a pizza slice when she asked for one. An offense report says Cooks told the woman 'I'm going to cut you' with a steak knife in her hand, and then tried to attack her. Deputies say a man in the house was able to take the knife away from Cooks. Cooks told investigators she did not remember much. She remained in jail Friday with no attorneys listed in records. ___ Information from: The St. Augustine (Fla.) Record, http://www.staugustine.com
  • An alligator that eluded capture for days in a Chicago lagoon is settling in its new home in Florida. The St. Augustine Alligator Farm Zoological Park said in a Facebook post Friday that it welcomed the reptile known as Chance the Snapper with a banner, pizza and Chicago's greatest hits. The park that now houses Chance recommended the Florida trapper Chicago officials flew in to capture the gator. The 4-foot, 18-pound American alligator became an instant sensation from the day he was spotted in the Humboldt Park lagoon and photos popped up online. Investigators don't know why the animal was in the lagoon, but experts say it wouldn't have survived the winter. Park director John Brueggen says Chance will stay alone for 90 days to make sure he is illness-free, and then join other gators.
  • A baby alligator was found far from the tropics in the parking lot of a grocery store outside Pittsburgh on Friday morning, the fourth alligator discovered near the city since May. An employee found the 2-foot-long (60-centimeter-long) creature near a garbage can at the Giant Eagle grocery store in Shaler, about 10 miles (15 kilometers) north of Pittsburgh. 'It looks like a little baby alligator,' Shaler Township Police Lt. Dave Banko told the Tribune Review newspaper. 'Someone dropped it off or lost it.' On their Facebook page , Shaler police put out a call for the owner to contact them. Paul McIntyre, of Big Daddy Wildlife Removal, came to take the animal from police and said it was healthy and docile. 'It was somebody's pet, I can guarantee you,' McIntyre told the newspaper. 'He's so friendly. Somebody had him as a pet, couldn't take care of him and let him go.' Three other gators have been found around Pittsburgh since May. Police speculate that the spate may at least partly stem from people who bought the animals as pets when they were little decided to release them when they started getting too big. It's not illegal to own an alligator in Pennsylvania. 'We strongly discourage anyone from having a pet alligator. Just because you buy one that's 8 inches long doesn't mean it will stay that size,' said Pittsburgh police spokesman Chris Togneri. 'And it's very irresponsible to just let it go.' On June 8, a 2½-foot-long (76-centimeter-long) alligator was found on a home's porch. Two days earlier, a man walking his dog spotted a 5-foot-long (1½-meter-long) alligator in front of a garage. On May 18, a 3-foot-long (90-centimter-long) gator was captured near a riverside park. Police determined the 5-foot-long alligator — which was named Chomp — had escaped from a home. Chomp's owner is now facing 33 counts of neglect, along with single counts of animal cruelty and recklessly endangering another person. Police removed 32 animals from the owner's home, including three more alligators; three snakes, including Burmese pythons, a lizard and some iguanas. Multiple dead animals were also discovered. ___ Information from: Tribune-Review, http://triblive.com
  • There will be no manholes in Berkeley, California. City workers will drop into 'maintenance holes' instead. Nothing will be manmade in the liberal city but 'human-made.' And students at the University of California, Berkeley, will join 'collegiate Greek system residences' rather than fraternities and sororities. Berkeley leaders voted unanimously this week to replace about 40 gender-specific words in the city code with gender-neutral terms — an effort to be more inclusive that's drawing both praise and scorn. That means 'manpower' will become 'human effort' or 'workforce,' while masculine and feminine pronouns like 'she,' ''her,' ''he' and 'him' will be replaced by 'they' and 'them,' according to the measure approved Tuesday by the City Council. The San Francisco Bay Area city is known for its long history of progressive politics and 'first of' ordinances. Berkeley was among the first cities to adopt curbside recycling in the 1970s and more recently, became the first in the U.S. to tax sugary drinks and ban natural gas in new homes. Berkeley also was the birthplace of the nation's free-speech movement in the 1960s and where protests from both left- and right-wing extremist groups devolved into violence during a flashpoint in the country's political divisions soon after President Donald Trump's election. Rigel Robinson, who graduated from UC Berkeley last year and at 23 is the youngest member of the City Council, said it was time to change a municipal code that makes it sound like 'men are the only ones that exist in entire industries or that men are the only ones on city government.' 'As society and our cultures become more aware about issues of gender identity and gender expression, it's important that our laws reflect that,' said Robinson, who co-authored the measure. 'Women and non-binary people are just as deserving of accurate representation.' When the changes take effect in the fall, all city forms will be updated and lists with the old words and their replacements will be posted at public libraries and the council chambers. The changes will cost taxpayers $600, Robinson said. Removing gendered terms has been slowly happening for decades in the United States as colleges, companies and organizations implement gender-neutral alternatives. California Gov. Gavin Newsom's wife, Jennifer Siebel Newsom, changed a Sacramento political tradition by adopting the unofficial title 'first partner' instead of 'first lady,' saying it's more inclusive. The change reflected Siebel Newsom's experience as an actress and filmmaker focused on gender politics and inequality. But formalizing the shift in the sweeping way that Berkeley is doing is 'remarkable and sends a message,' Rutgers University linguistics professor Kristen Syrett said. 'Anytime you're talking about something where gender is not the issue but you use a gendered term, that immediately sends a message of exclusion, even if it's a dialogue that has nothing to do with gender,' said Syrett, who recently spearheaded an update to the guidelines on inclusive language for the Linguistic Society of America. For Hel Baker, a Berkeley home caregiver, the shift is a small step in the right direction. 'Anything that dismantles inherent bias is a good thing, socially, in the grand scheme of things,' the 27-year-old said. 'I don't, by any means, think this is the great championing for gender equality, but you gotta start somewhere,' Baker added. Lauren Singh, 18, who grew up in Berkeley, approved of the move, saying, 'Everyone deserves to be represented and feel included in the community.' Not everyone agreed with the new ordinance. Laramie Crocker, a Berkeley carpenter, said the changes just made him laugh. 'If you try to change the laws every time someone has a new opinion about something, it doesn't make sense. It's just a bad habit to get into,' Crocker said. Crocker, 54, said he would like city officials to focus on more pressing issues, like homelessness. 'Let's keep it simple, get back to work,' he said. 'Let's figure out how to get homeless people housed and fed. He, she, they, it — they're wasting my time.' ___ Rodriguez reported from San Francisco.
  • A Utah boy has earned widespread social media attention for his neighborhood soda stand thanks to a sign he holds that reads, 'Ice Cold Beer' with 'root' above the word beer in tiny print. Several residents in the northern Utah city called police earlier this week concerned about a young boy selling alcohol in front of a church, said Brigham City Police Lt. Tony Ferderber on Thursday. Officers that went to check it out realized that it was just a clever marketing ploy and posted pictures of 11-year-old Seth Parker on Facebook with the comment, 'a twist on a lemonade stand.' Sen. Mitt Romney, of Utah, tweeted a picture of Seth with the comment, 'A lesson in reading the fine print! The future is bright for this young Utah entrepreneur.' Seth's mother Alexis Parker said Thursday that the family is dumbfounded and excited by all the attention. She estimated that some 60 people a day come to the stand. Seth started the stand because his parents urged him to get out more after they noticed he had struggled to make new friends since the family moved from Georgia last year, Alexis Parker said. Seth thought about a yard sale or lemonade stand but settled on selling the soda because he is a root beer 'fanatic,' she said. He chose the sign with the tiny print as a little 'wise crack.' The first day brought some scoffs and scowls, especially for people without good vision, she said. But people soon caught on to the joke. 'We're loving people stopping by and just having a good laugh,' said Alexis Parker. 'It is a joy all the way around.
  • An Illinois woman who recently got a 1993 postcard in her mailbox has tracked down the man who sent it to his children more than two decades ago. Kim Draper's story about the mysterious Hong Kong postcard was published in The State Journal-Register in Springfield and picked up by The Associated Press. Masrour Kizilbash sent the postcard to his family while working overseas in 1993. He told the newspaper that he was 'fascinated with the area' and wanted to share his experiences. At that time, there were no cell phones or internet and international calls were costly, so he instead opted to send postcards. Kizilbash's family was living in Springfield at the time. He always figured that they had received the postcard. U.S. Postal Service officials said the card could've gotten tied up in Hong Kong or might've been stuck in old equipment. With the help of social media, Draper learned that Kizilbash's son, Mohammad Kizilbash, now lives in suburban Chicago. A reunion with the postcard is planned. 'I thought that was really gracious of her, she went out of her way to track us down,' Mohammad said. 'I'm looking forward to getting this postcard. This is one to keep.' Draper would ideally like to appear with the Kizilbashes on a TV show to give them the card, but if that can't happen, she'll drive to Chicago and give it to them in person. 'I won't mail it. I don't want it to get back in the mail system, and I really want to meet them,' Draper said. 'I am surprised about how the story has spread,' she said. 'But at the same time it's heartwarming. I think it made people want to know the family and it's one of those cool stories that you want to hear the end.
  • The U.S. Air Force has warned people against participating in an internet joke suggesting a large crowd of people 'storm Area 51,' the top-secret Cold War test site in the Nevada desert. A prank event on Facebook that's attracted more than 1 million interested people suggests that a mass of people attempt to run into the mysterious site at 3 a.m. on Sept. 20. The site is part of the vast Nevada Test and Training Range and has become the center of UFO conspiracy theories. The Facebook event jokes 'they can't stop all of us' and 'Let's see them aliens.' Nellis Air Force Base said in a statement that the Air Force is aware of the Facebook posting and says 'any attempt to illegally access the area is highly discouraged.' The Air Force says it does not discuss its security measures and that the test and training range provides 'flexible, realistic and multidimensional battlespace' for testing and 'advanced training in support of U.S. national interests.' After decades of government officials refusing to acknowledge Area 51, the CIA released declassified documents in 2013 referring to the 8,000-square mile (20,700-sq. kilometer) installation by name and locating it on a map near the dry Groom Lake bed. The base has been a testing ground for a host of top-secret aircraft, including the U-2 in the 1950s and later the B-2 stealth bomber. But secrecy surrounding the site has fueled conspiracy theories among UFO enthusiasts and sprouted a small, alien-themed tourist industry in surrounding desert communities, including alien-themed cafes, an alien-themed motel and an alien-themed brothel.
  • A curious visitor to a Maine train museum that resembled a white throw pillow or perhaps a lost toupee turned out to be a rare albino porcupine. The young rodent turned up Tuesday at Seashore Trolley Museum in Kennebunkport, perplexing the staff, who sought help identifying it via social media. The consensus was it's an albino porcupine. The Portland Press Herald reports the animal appeared to be a baby because its quills had not yet hardened. A spokeswoman for the museum said midday Wednesday that it hadn't yet been seen again, but it was assumed to be lurking in the area. Porcupines are common in Maine, though albino ones certainly aren't. About one of every 10,000 of the species is an albino porcupine.
  • A brown bear in Italy has eluded capture for a third day, following its escape from an electrified enclosure in a forested Alpine region. Appeals mounted urging authorities not to shoot it. It's not clear how the bear got past an electrified fence, then scaled a nearly 4-meter (13-foot) high barrier. Days earlier, the bear had been captured by forest rangers after attacks on livestock. Environment Minister Sergio Costa tweeted 'Don't shoot.' He wants to avoid a replay of the 2014 death of a bear caused by a tranquilizer dart after the animal had attacked a mushroom hunter in the same region. Elsewhere on Twitter, some on Wednesday rooted for the bear. The bear triggered sensor photos on Tuesday, showing it was not far from the Casteller di Trento Center where it had escaped.
  • Officials in West Palm Beach are hoping a continuous loop of children's songs played throughout the night will keep homeless people from sleeping on the patio of a city-owned rental banquet facility. West Palm Beach parks and recreation director Leah Rockwell tells the Palm Beach Post they're trying to discourage people from sleeping outside the glass-walled Waterfront Lake Pavilion, which she says rakes in some $240,000 annually from events. The loop of 'Baby Shark' and 'Raining Tacos' is a temporary fix to keep homeless people off the patio. Rockwell says the city wants to formalize hours for the facility, which should make trespassing laws easier to enforce. Illaya Champion tells the Post 'it's wrong' to chase people away with music. He says he'll still sleep there, but 'it's on and on, the same songs.