2009 marked by nugget drop
For millions, New Year’s Eve is marked by the descent of the giant crystal ball in Times Square. For others, it’s a giant acorn or peach. But perhaps the most savory countdown is in McDonough, Georgia, where thousands gathered on Wednesday to watch a giant chicken nugget drop into a vat of dipping sauce. The 1.8m-tall, 363kg nugget is actually plaster and the vat is filled with syrup and food coloring meant to resemble honey mustard, “but it looks real,” said Liz Stavely, a manager at Truett’s Grill, which hosts the annual event. The crowd was entertained by a fire-eating magician, bungee jumping, a caricature artist and musicians. The restaurant, part of the Chick-fil-A chain, offered free chicken nuggets.
‘Granny Robber’ stole for son
A defense lawyer says the Ohio woman dubbed “the Granny Robber” in several bank heists was trying to support a grown son who had fallen on hard times. Sixty-eight-year-old Barbara Joly has admitted she robbed a bank in March, and investigators suspect her in as many as three other holdups, according to the Cincinnati Enquirer. Police say the former bank teller from Middletown, Ohio, probably got away with less than US$10,000 in total. Attorney Chris Atkins said in court on Tuesday that his client wanted to send money to help her only child.
Man steals US$625 in food
A suspected grocery thief still has a taste for finer cuisine, even in the struggling economy. Police in Racine, Wisconsin, say 43-year-old Brian Rubenstein tried to steal US$625 in groceries. The total included US$365 in lobster and US$213 in ribeye and beef roasts. Workers told police they saw Rubenstein fill his cart with lobster tails and beef cuts, as well as a smoked ham, apple pie and fruit platter. He was arrested on Dec. 23. Rubenstein was charged on Friday with misdemeanor retail theft, which carries a maximum penalty of nine months in prison and a US$10,000 fine.
Packages force evacuations
Much of downtown Aspen, Colorado, was evacuated on Wednesday after suspicious packages were found at two banks. Police said a downtown Wells Fargo Bank discovered a package with a threatening note at about 2:30pm. A nearby Vectra Bank reported a similar package minutes later. Authorities ended up evacuating a 16-block area of mostly businesses and some homes. The packages were wrapped in Christmas paper and left on top of pizza boxes in black sleds. The notes indicated a “credible threat to the community,” the Aspen Police Department said in a statement.
Eggs served cold on freeway
State troopers and road crews had to scramble when a tractor-trailer crashed and spilled its load of eggs on a freeway near Detroit, Michigan. Trooper Jim Smiley says eastbound Interstate 94 in Washtenaw County’s Ypsilanti Township reopened at 1am yesterday after being shut down for six hours. Smiley says the driver fell asleep and his rig hit a guardrail and a bridge support beam that tore the trailer open and spilled hundreds of cartons of eggs along a 100m stretch of I-94. Frigid temperatures made for a frozen mess that Smiley says was scraped up by front-end loaders and put in dump trucks. Road workers then spread sand and salt on all three lanes.
No nookie for firework fans
Men in Naples will have to make do without sex if they insisted on going out to play with fireworks this New Year’s Eve. That’s the tough love message from Se Spari, Niente Sesso (No Sex for Fireworks), a group that claims to have signed up hundreds of women supporters in recent days. “Setting off illegal fireworks isn’t celebrating — it’s dangerous,” founder Carolina Staiano, a Naples area housewife, was quoted as saying in the La Stampa newspaper. “If your man doesn’t understand, take action and make him sleep on the sofa ... [Refusing to make love] is an argument that men are particularly sensitive to.” Motivating Staiano was a family tragedy. “Before I was born, my father was partially paralyzed by handling unauthorized fireworks. For all his life, he suffered from epileptic fits.” Fireworks, often homemade, and gunfire were blamed for one death and 473 injuries on Dec. 31 last year — even after police seized 146 tonnes of illegal pyrotechnics in the weeks leading up to the holiday.