The Odd Side – July 9, 2013

4 Wallabies Recaptured After Walkabout at Iowa Zoo

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – Four red-necked wallabies made a break for freedom after a gate was left open on the Australia exhibit at a Des Moines zoo.

Officials at Blank Park Zoo say the male wallabies, also known as boomers, didn’t get very far during their Sunday night walkabout. Three of the kangaroo-like mammals were captured within hours and the fourth was picked up Monday morning.

Several workers were needed to surround and catch the marsupials whose strong hind legs can catapult them great distances at high speeds. They never left the grounds of the zoo.

A zoo spokesman says none of the wallabies were hurt during their adventure.

Calif. Roller Coaster Screams Exceed Decibel Limit

SANTA CLARA, Calif. (AP) – A Northern California roller coaster appears to have been a little too much fun.

The Gold Striker at Great America in Santa Clara had to be taken offline this week because riders were screaming too loudly.

The San Jose Mercury News reports  that the shrieks were exceeding the decibel limit agreed upon in a settlement with Prudential Real Estate, which owns adjacent properties.

So Great America had to cover a portion of the track in a sound-dampening tunnel. The wooden roller coaster reopened on Wednesday after the work was completed.

Ohio Sinkhole Swallows Car; Driver Climbs Ladder

TOLEDO, Ohio (AP) – A northwest Ohio sinkhole has swallowed a car traveling down a street and briefly trapped the driver, who climbed out after authorities gave her a ladder.

Toledo police Sgt. Joe Heffernan says a water main break beneath the road may have caused the sinkhole Wednesday. The hole is estimated to be at least 10 feet deep.

Police say driver Pamela Knox didn’t appear hurt but was shaken up and was taken to a hospital as a precaution.

Heffernan says Knox saw the vehicle in front of her start to slip into the hole but drive beyond it. He says Knox couldn’t avoid it.

Officials used a crane to pull the car from the hole. Repairs to the road are expected to take days.

Store Phone’s Redial Leads to Pa. Man’s Arrest

ALTOONA, Pa. (AP) – Police say a suspect’s phone call from a convenience store telephone helped them to charge him with stealing $142 worth of change from the business.

The Altoona Mirror reports 32-year-old Jason Comer, of Pittsburgh, has been charged with theft Saturday afternoon at a Sheetz store in Logan Township. That’s near Altoona, about 85 miles east of Pittsburgh.

A clerk told police that a man asked to use the phone because he was out of gas before grabbing a change dispenser attached to the store’s cash registers. Police used the phone’s redial button and the person who answered the call told the officer that Comer had just called.

Police also identified Comer from surveillance video and found him nearby, waiting for a tow truck.

Online court records don’t list an attorney for Comer who remained jailed Tuesday.

Remembering Gettysburg: Non-Americans Join the Fray

(Reuters) – It hardly sounds like a dream honeymoon: a week charging around a battleground reverberating with the clamor of 135 cannons, the reek of gunpowder smoke and the cacophony of 12,000 soldiers and 400 horses.

Yet for Polish newlyweds Madeline and Lukas Kus, the noise and violence are the main attraction. The couple, both 30-year-olds from Warsaw, are among scores of non-Americans — some from as far afield as Australia — who came to Pennsylvania to take part in two reenactments commemorating the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg in the first week of July.

The Kuses are two of six Poles here to remember the Polish Brigade, originally formed by Polish-American Walery Sulakowski in August 1861. Almost two years later, the brigade, part of the 14th Louisiana Volunteer Infantry Regiment, was deployed to Gettysburg to take part in the largest battle of the American Civil War. Casualties (killed, missing in action, wounded or captured) for Union and Confederate troops totaled 50,000.

Madeline Kus, who portrayed a Confederate drummer boy in the June 27-30 reenactment organized by the Blue Gray Alliance, has been taking part in Civil War re-creations for more than two years.

A second reenactment, sponsored by the Gettysburg Anniversary Committee, took place at a farm near Gettysburg on July 4-7. That version included about 300 foreign-born reenactors from a range of countries including Canada, Austria, France, Sweden, Belgium, Denmark and Britain.

All the simulated encounters take place on private farmland. “Officers” assign roles in famously well-known and researched engagements within the battle of Gettysburg and participants arrive already knowledgeable and prepared to feign death.

Military historian Professor Peter Stanley of the Australian Centre for the Study of Armed Conflict and Society at the University of New South Wales, Canberra, was among the group in the second event.

He wore “the ‘undress’ uniform of a major of the 101st Royal Bengal Fusiliers,” said Stanley, author of 25 books, most of them on military history. That means a dark blue patrol jacket, lavender-blue trousers and a cap.

He represented “one of the British officers who spent time with both sides observing the war in America. Some British officers came especially; many came down from their stations in Canada.

For 72-year-old Frederick “Derek” Philips, of Scotland, who portrayed Captain William Wilcox of the 95th New York, the occasion affords the chance to relive history. Philips, a member of the American Civil War Society in the UK, said he participates in about five such events a year in the British Isles.

Philips, a history teacher who has visited Gettysburg several times in the past, said he met members of the Confederation of Union Generals 10 years ago at the commemoration. “I was invited to join as an (aide-de-camp) to Major General John F. Reynolds. Wilcox was with General Reynolds when he was killed at Gettysburg on the first day of the battle.”

Gettysburg officials are expecting 250,000 visitors to visit the small south-central Pennsylvania borough of about 7,700 residents for the anniversary. To accommodate them, officials hired law enforcement and emergency service personnel to provide security and related services.