Watercooler Stories

May 12, 2008 at 6:30 AM
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Alaska officials blow up old fireworks

ANCHORAGE, Ala., May 11 (UPI) -- Residents of Big Lake, Alaska, said they were shocked by a loud blast that came from a box of old fireworks city officials decided to blow up.

The incident began when relatives of Clay Holzl, who was a pyrotechnician before he died, stumbled across an old stash of his fireworks in a storage unit, the Anchorage (Alaska) Daily News reported Sunday.

After struggling with what to do with the box of large commercial fireworks, authorities Friday said the best way to dispose of the materials was to blow them up.

"We were getting rid of it as safely as possible," said Alaska State Troopers spokeswoman Megan Peters.

After closing down surrounding roads and warning residents, officers lit the explosives. The blast set the town rattling and shattered some windows.

"It sounded like a sonic boom," said resident Nancy Killoran.

Holzl's family said the boom was a fitting final statement for their loved one, who loved the sound of a good strong blast.

Parking ticket paid 31 years late

CALUMET, Mich., May 11 (UPI) -- A parking ticket issued in Calumet, Mich., 31 years ago has finally been paid, but the payer remains anonymous, authorities say.

Calumet parking enforcement officer Marsha Johnson, who wrote the ticket in 1976, said she was clueless as to why someone would send an envelope with a $20 bill to pay the ticket more than three decades later, the (Houghton, Mich.) Daily Mining Gazette said Friday.

"That would have been me, I wrote the ticket, and she finally paid," said Johnson, whose last name was Garcia at the time the ticket was issued. "I wonder what made her pay it. Just her conscience?"

The money arrived in April, accompanied by a reminder of the date of the parking violation and a note.

"I always had good intentions of paying it. I put it aside and every once in a while I would come across it and said 'some day I'm going to pay it.' Now I think it's time," the scofflaw wrote.

Police said they have no plans to investigate who may have sent the money and the note.

Fla. woman hurt in collision with pelican

TREASURE ISLAND, Fla., May 11 (UPI) -- A 50-year-old Ohio woman suffered facial injuries when a pelican collided with her in the Gulf of Mexico off Treasure Island, Fla., authorities say.

Tourists typically are advised to be cautious of sharks and stingrays but such warnings rarely include pelicans, the St. Petersburg (Fla.) Times said Friday.

"I do not recall an incident with a pelican," St. Pete Beach Fire Chief Fred Golliner said after Thursday's incident.

Debbie Shoemaker required 26 stitches after the pelican's beak pierced her cheek. She told the newspaper she decided to end her vacation early and go back home to Toledo.

"A terrifying experience, especially being by myself," she said. "Nobody would have ever thought that it could happen, but it could and it did."

Bar manager gets revenge for tagging

HASTINGS, New Zealand, May 11 (UPI) -- A 21-year-old man who was caught on camera defacing a New Zealand bar had his own face tagged by the bar's manager as revenge, the proud employee said.

Turks Bar manager Dion Cooper said when he recognized Quentin McKelvey as the man allegedly videotaped writing on a barroom wall, he asked the "artist" to clean off his tagging, The Dominion Post said in its Saturday edition.

Cooper said he took matters into his own hands after McKelvey refused.

"I asked him, 'How do you like that, mate? How do you like being drawn on?'" Cooper said. "I put a bit on his clothes, said, 'Oh sorry, mate, I've just wrecked your clothes, like you wrecked my wall, how did you like it?"'

McKelvey was not charged in the April 18 incident in Havelock North but he said he learned his lesson after receiving community service from a similar incident.

"I know it's really irresponsible and I've learnt my lesson now," he told the Post.

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