Chuck Shepherd's News Of The Weird
Land developers for the iconic Stanley Hotel in Estes Park, Colo. (famous as the inspiration for the hotel in Stephen King’s The Shining), announced recently that they need more space and thus will dig up and move the hotel’s 12-gravesite pet cemetery. Neighbors told the Fort Collins Coloradoan in September that they feared the construction noise, but somehow ignored the potential release of departed spirits (though an “Animal Planet” “dog psychic” who lives in Estes Park seemed to volunteer her services to calm the pets’ souls).
The War Against “Doing the Right Thing”
- Teach Our Children Well: (1) Officials at Milford Haven School in Pembrokeshire county, Wales, punished Rhys Johnson, 14, this month for violating the dress code against shaved heads. He was helping raise money for an anti-cancer charity after a third relative of his contracted the illness. (2) North Andover (Mass.) High School punished honor student and volleyball captain Erin Cox this month for giving a drunk classmate a ride home. Cox was clean and sober, but violated the school’s “zero tolerance” attitude toward alcohol users (even though more student drunk-driving might result if sober friends feared school punishment).
- Walter Dixon knew that he was about to be relocated in December 2012 from a Joliet, Ill., correctional facility to begin serving a new federal drug conspiracy sentence, but instead, state officials mistakenly freed him. Dixon protested, but said he was aggressively dismissed from the premises. It was not until September that he was finally re-arrested and began his new sentence. (Dixon was easily located because, though free, he had met regularly with his parole officer and was taking several vocational courses.)
- Perfect Sense: A 77-year-old motorist told police in Kagawa Prefecture, Japan, that he was going the wrong way on the Takamatsu Expressway only because he had missed his exit one kilometer back and thought it best just to turn the car around and retrace the path back to the ramp. Police said his short September jaunt had caused a collision, not affecting the man’s own car.
- Lame: In October, Jeffrey Laub, 39, was sentenced on several traffic charges, including leading police on a 111-miles-per-hour “Dukes of Hazzard-style” chase through Logan Canyon near Logan, Utah, with the explanation only that he needed an emergency restroom because of something he ate. Judge Thomas Willmore called the excuse “one of the worst” he had heard, since Laub had passed several public toilets during the chase.
Least Competent Criminals
(1) A Tucson, Ariz., man apparently escaped a traffic stop in August, but not unscathed. After fleeing to a dead-end street, he climbed out the passenger window, but his foot got caught, and his still-moving car's back tire ran over his sprawled torso. The motorcycle officer was not able to catch the injured man, who staggered off into the neighborhood. (2) Lucas Bourke, 21, and Ethan Keeler, 20, attempting to break into a safe at New Yard Landscaping in Hopkinton, N.H., in October, possibly seeking drug money, unwisely chose to use an oxy-acetylene torch. Included in the safe’s contents was a supply of consumer fireworks, and, according to the police report, the resultant explosion “blew their bodies apart.”
A News of the Weird Classic (February 2008)
It’s the “holy grail” of beers, said a Boston pub manager, but still, only 60,000 cases a year of Westvleteren are brewed because the Belgian Trappist monks with the centuries-old recipe refuse to expand their business (and even take to the phones to harass black-marketers). Westvleteren is sold only at the monastery gate, by appointment, with a two-case-a-month limit, at a price that’s reasonable for retail beer, but anyone who gets it from a re-seller will pay 10 times that much. Producing more, said Brother Joris, to a Wall Street Journal reporter in November (2007), “would interfere with our job of being a monk.” Furthermore, said Brother Joris, referencing the Bible, “(I)f you can’t have it, possibly you do not really need it.”
© 2013 CHUCK SHEPHERD