The Odd Side

SAN DIEGO (AP) – A Marine Corps spokesman says a bucket of cleaning solution fell from a military helicopter and smashed through the roof of a San Diego business, but nobody was hurt.

KGTV says the accident happened Wednesday evening near the Miramar air station.

Lt. Tyler Balzer says the 5-gallon bucket of cleaning solution was strapped down inside an Osprey but it somehow came loose and slid out shortly after the chopper took off from Miramar.

The bucket plunged through the roof of a closed auto shop and clipped a motorhome.

A half-dozen vehicles were splashed with the watery solution.

Balzer says the shop owners can file a claim with the Marine Corps for restitution.

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PITTSBURGH (AP) – A county detective is trying to figure out how an apparent prankster was able to fill out a 2008 voter registration card signed “Barack H. Obama.”

By the time Butler County elections officials processed the card, it went into the state’s computerized database with the last name “Obana” — that is, with an ‘n’ in place of the ‘m’ — but a detective said that whoever filled out the card was clearly trying to register using President Barack Obama’s full name.

“On the actual registration card, the attempted voter — we’re assuming it’s a college kid — the kid who wrote it put an ‘m’ in the name,” Butler County detective Scott Roskovski told The Associated Press on Wednesday.

The card was discovered last week when a jury commissioner was reviewing questionnaires set to be mailed to potential jurors. In Pennsylvania, potential jurors can be drawn from voter registration lists. The jury commissioner contacted the detective, who handles election-related issues for the county located about 30 miles north of Pittsburgh.

“The name threw up a red flag,” jury commissioner Jon Galante told the AP on Wednesday.

Roskovski said county elections records showed nobody tried to vote using the bogus registration card, though filling it out falsely could be a felony — perjury — or a misdemeanor of making a false unsworn statement.

The handwritten card also lists the president’s birth date — 8/4/61 — though whoever wrote it put ‘81 as the birth year before scratching it out. Roskovski said it’s possible the prankster was born in the ‘80s and used the wrong digit before realizing the mistake.

The address listed on the card used to belong to a former dormitory at Slippery Rock University, a state-owned school in the county, which is one reason Roskovski assumes it was filled out as a prank. Another reason: The voter’s listed phone number was 555-5555.

Because the card is from 2008, county elections officials have no recollection of receiving it or entering it into a statewide database of registered voters, which is where the last name is spelled with an ‘n,’ Roskovski said. He assumes the card was processed in good faith by an elections worker who was busy with a large number of newly registered voters.

County elections director Shari Brewer said officials approved the registration because they’re required to even if a birth date or other identifying information is believed to be incorrect, though a spokesman for the Pennsylvania Department of State said county officials are empowered to reject registration cards with “dubious” information. The card likely wasn’t discovered before last week because whoever applied for it never tried to vote.

As to whomever that is, Rostovski said: “Unfortunately, they don’t take voting as seriously as they should. It’s a college prank, but I think it’s more than a college prank.”

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THE HAGUE, Netherlands (AP) – Dutch police have tracked down a pair of burglars trying to break into a tennis club by following their footprints in freshly fallen snow.

As the first heavy snow of the winter blanketed much of the Netherlands Tuesday, police say officers noticed foot prints in the early hours of the morning in Maassluis, near Rotterdam.

They followed the tracks and found two men trying to break into a tennis club. Police say the officers chased down one man, but the second burglar escaped after fast-falling snow covered his tracks.

The heavy overnight snow caused chaos on Dutch roads, with authorities measuring more than 1,000 kilometers (620 miles) of traffic jams in the morning rush hour.

Several flights from Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport also were cancelled or delayed by the winter weather.

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MOSCOW (AP) – A Russian official says it’s time for the nation’s soldiers to switch from foot wraps to socks.

Since the late 17th century, Russian soldiers have been using wraps, rectangular strips of cloth that are carefully wrapped around their bare feet to prevent blisters from tall heavy boots with no laces.

But Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu, who took the post two months ago, said he was surprised to learn that some soldiers are still using the wraps, called “portyanki” in Russian, and told them to use socks instead.

At a meeting with military officers Monday, he said, “In 2013, or at least by the end of 2013, we must forget the word portyanki.”

Czar Peter the Great adopted the custom from the Dutch army in the late 17th century.

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SAO PAULO (AP) – Brazilian police say an officer playing a prank on a colleague by simulating a holdup has been shot and killed.

A police spokeswoman in the city of Rondonopolis said by telephone on Friday that an officer was pulling out of his garage to go to work when his friend rode up on a motorcycle and announced a holdup.

The officer in the car drew his gun and fired several shots into the stomach of the friend, whose face was helmet. When he realized who the man was, he rushed him to a hospital, where he died.

The police spokeswoman spoke on condition of anonymity because she was not authorized to discuss the case. The incident took place late Thursday.

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LONDON (AP) – A British professor who specializes in cities and urban life has been convicted of damaging luxury cars with graffiti that was surprisingly polite.

Stephen Graham was found guilty Friday of using a screwdriver to scrawl inoffensive words such as “very silly,” ‘‘really wrong” and “arbitrary” into the paintwork of vehicles including a Mercedes, an Audi, and a Volvo.

Prosecutors said the spree caused 18,000 pounds ($29,000) in damage.

Graham, who teaches at Newcastle University in northeast England, pleaded guilty to criminal damage at Newcastle Crown Court.

Graham’s lawyer said the 47-year-old academic had no recollection of his August vandalism spree. Graham previously blamed a bad reaction to alcohol, antibiotics and prescription drugs for his behavior.

Judge James Gos said he would sentence Graham next month.

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JOHANNESBURG (AP) – When do you not listen to the African wildlife expert? When he tells you to stand closer to the rhino.

That suggestion by a South African game park owner resulted in serious injuries to a
24-year-old woman from Johannesburg.

The Beeld newspaper reported Tuesday that Chantal Beyer said the game park owner snapped pictures and suggested that she “stand just a little bit closer” seconds before the attack. Photos show Beyer and her husband only feet away from two rhinos.

The paper said that just after the photo was snapped, the rhino attacked, and its horn penetrated Beyers’ chest, resulting in a collapsed lung and broken ribs, the paper said. The Aloe Ridge Hotel and Nature Reserve, where the incident took place, declined to comment.