Levi Miles, 28, took a bold gamble when he and Chloe Rimmer, 24, approached a valet desk at the posh Vinoy Renaissance Resort and Golf Club in St. Petersburg, Fla., and demanded the keys to the $300,000 yellow 2014 Ferrari 458 Italia Spider sitting nearby. Miles told the clerk his ticket was inside the car. The valet gave him the keys and Miles drove off. But within minutes, he was stopped by police for non-working tail lights. Officers found cocaine on the dashboard. The couple were taken into custody. Miles explained to police that he was only trying to impress Rimmer, whom he had just met. Rimmer admitted she thought it was odd that Miles didn’t seem to know how to drive the car, but he did manage to “move it.” The car’s owner filed a lawsuit for negligence against the resort and the parking operator.
Stay Off The Melting Road
It may be cold in some places, but it’s hot in Broadford, a small town about an hour from Melbourne, Australia, where, on Jan. 5, the highway began melting. Temperatures of 100 degrees and higher reactivated an ingredient in the surface of the Hume Highway, turning it into a sticky mess. Motorists were warned by Victoria police to avoid the right lane and expect delays over a 10 kilometer stretch. Officials also put in place a fire ban and urged people to stay indoors until the heat abated.
Turkeys Behaving Badly
Postal workers in the Rocky River suburb of Cleveland, Ohio, were unable to deliver mail to two dozen homes for three weeks in December and January after being attacked by aggressive wild turkeys. Local ordinances prevent the city from eliminating the birds, so residents were asked to pick up their mail at the post office. Rocky River Mayor Pam Bobst encouraged residents to stop putting out bird food, hoping that would discourage the turkeys from hanging around. “There’s a lot of bird feeders over there, so there’s a food source in that area,” she told Cleveland.com. The USPS said several carriers were pecked, but no serious injuries had been reported.
Black Cars Bad, White Cars Good
In Turkmenistan’s capital, Ashgabat, drivers of black cars are facing high costs to repaint their cars white or silver after President Gurbanguly Berdymukhammedov banned black vehicles because he thinks the color white brings good luck. Police began seizing dark-colored vehicles in late December. Owners have to apply for permission to repaint and re-register them. The average wage in Ashgabat is $300 a month (or 1,200 manats). One Turkman told Radio Free Europe that he was quoted 7,000 manats for a paint job, but was told that the price would rise within a week to 11,000 manats. “Even if I don’t spend any money anywhere, I will be forced to hand over pretty much my entire annual salary just to repaint,” the unnamed man said. His black car had been impounded.
The Donut Habit
Bradley Hardison, 27, of Elizabeth City, N.C., achieved minor celebrity status in 2014 when he won a donut-eating contest sponsored by the Elizabeth City Police Department. (He ate eight glazed doughnuts in two minutes.) At the time, police had been looking for Hardison as a suspect in break-ins going back to 2013. So they arrested him, and he received a suspended sentence that ended in October, 2017. But a donut habit is hard to break: The Virginian-Pilot reported that Hardison was charged on Jan. 18 with robbing a Dunkin’ Donuts store on Nov. 21.
More Coffee Or I Sue
On Jan. 5, U.S. District Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers dismissed the lawsuit of Siera Strumlauf and Benjamin Robles of California, and Brittany Crittenden of New York, against Starbucks for underfilling its lattes and mochas. The judge cited lack of evidence brought by the plaintiffs, who accused the coffee chain of fraud by making its cups too small and instructing baristas to skimp on ingredients and adhere to low “fill-to” lines on milk pitchers. The suit also claimed milk foam should not be counted toward advertised volumes, an opinion Rogers said reasonable customers do not hold. Starbucks and the plaintiffs had no comment.
When Parents Want Kids To Smoke
Christians in a Portuguese village carry on a curious tradition during Epiphany: They encourage their young children to smoke cigarettes. Vale de Salgueiro locals told Fox News that nobody is sure what the smoking symbolizes, but the centuries-old tradition persists. Portuguese authorities don’t intervene, despite the fact that the legal age to purchase tobacco in Portugal is 18. Writer Jose Ribeirinha researched the tradition and said that since Roman times, villagers in the region have done things that were out of the norm during winter solstice celebrations.
When Public Safety Is Paramount
Tennessee’s legislature has a newly renovated home in the Cordell Hull building in Nashville, so Lt. Gov. Randy McNally and House Speaker Beth Harwell have been busy outlining some new rules. “Hand-carried signs and signs on hand sticks” will be strictly prohibited because they pose a “serious safety hazard.” Animals, too, will be turned away at the door. But McNally and Harwell will continue a policy they enacted last year that allows holders of valid gun permits to bring their weapons into the building.
So Long, Green Sea Turtles
Researchers have discovered that 99 percent of green sea turtles born in the northern parts of Australia’s Great Barrier Reef are now female. Sea turtles’ gender is determined by the temperature at which the eggs are incubated, and warmer temperatures reduce the number of male hatchlings. The author of a new study, marine biologist Michael Jensen, told The News York Times the shift in gender suggests climate change is having a more dramatic effect on sea turtle populations than scientists realized. “We’re all trying to wrap our heads around how these populations are going to respond to those changes,” he said. Researchers warn that continued global warming will threaten the persistence of these populations.
Going To Jail For A Burrito
— Tampa, Fla., resident Douglas Jon Francisco, 28, was arrested for DUI after he mistook a Spring Hill bank drive-thru lane for a Taco Bell. The bank branch manager noticed a driver passed out in a blue Hyundai sedan in the drive-thru lane. When the manager went out to the car and banged on the window, Francisco woke up and tried to order a burrito. After being set straight about the bank not serving Mexican fast food, Francisco drove around to the front of the building and parked, where deputies found him and administered a field sobriety test, which he failed. “He made several statements that were differing from reality,” a Hernando County Sheriff’s deputy reported.
— A Facebook event calling for a candlelight vigil to remember a destroyed Taco Bell restaurant in Montgomery, Ala., started as a joke. But according to United Press International, 100 people showed up on Jan. 21 to pay their respects to the popular fast-food restaurant, which burned on Jan. 17 after electrical equipment sparked a fire. The owner promised to rebuild and “have a true celebration upon re-opening.”
Can We Just Stop Running Over Each Other?
In Dresden, Germany, police reported that two men were injured after hitting each other with their cars in consecutive accidents. The first man, 49, pulled into a handicapped parking spot, then saw his mistake and backed out, accidentally hitting a 72-year-old man walking behind the car. The two men exchanged information for a report, then the older man got into his car and reversed out of his parking spot, hitting the younger man. Both men suffered only slight injuries, according to the Associated Press.
Just One More Distraction
Distracted driving caused long backups and at least one minor traffic accident on Jan. 20 as a man wandered along I-95 in Philadelphia … in the buff. The Philadelphia Inquirer reported the stripped-down man walked along the shoulder and in and out of the right lane around noon, throwing items at cars before being taken into custody by police. His name was not released.
Want A State?
Noting that “nobody else has done it,” on Jan. 4, Nebraska state Sen. Paul Schumacher of Columbus proposed a novel constitutional amendment with the goal of stimulating growth in western Nebraska. The amendment would allow individuals to delegate complete or partial sovereignty over a designated, limited and sparsely populated area. “If I were a major business, I would not want Omaha or Lincoln … telling me what to do,” Schumacher said. The Lincoln Journal Star reported that the senator believes his concept would attract businesses looking for no state or local taxes and no state or local regulations. It presents the opportunity to “have your own state,” he explained. The Nebraska legislature must approve the resolution before citizens get a chance to vote.