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This week in odd news: 'Sewer war' and record-setting cats

Posted 1:18 a.m. Sunday
Updated 1:20 a.m. Sunday

KOALA SURVIVES 10-MILE AUSTRALIA TRIP IN WHEEL ARCH

For a stowaway who made a 16-kilometer (10-mile) journey squeezed in the wheel arch, a koala was lucky to escape with just scratches.

The driver of the four-wheel vehicle was unaware of the extra passenger until they arrived at their destination in the outskirts of Adelaide, Australia, and he heard some unusual cries.

After seeing the koala in the wheel arch, he immediately called animal rescuers, who removed the wheel and eventually extricated the frightened but very lucky animal.

"You think you've seen it all. No, I've never seen anything like that and it's absolutely incredible," said Fauna Rescue worker, Jane Brister.

The koala suffered superficial injuries and was covered in grease from under the car.

"She was crying a little bit, she was a little bit shaken, she was certainly in shock but I rushed her straight to the vet," Brister said.

The koala was dubbed Kelli, after one of the firefighters who rescued her.

"Kelli's one of our fine station officers and she led the rescue crew that day and she was quite excited to have such a good outcome," said Dave Juniper of the South Australian Metropolitan Fire Service.

After being cleaned up and monitored for a week, it was released back into the bush on Saturday.

"After everything she's been through, she's had so much stress and trauma, to see her just toddle off and up the tree, and currently she's found the biggest fork in the tree, she's snuggled up, she's fast asleep," Brister said.

Rescue workers say it's not unusual for koalas to seek shelter in unusual places.

ONE HOME, TWO RECORD-SETTING CATS

Here's a very tall tail: Two record-setting cats are living together near Detroit.

Arcturus Aldebaran Powers holds the Guinness World Records mark for tallest domestic cat, measuring at about 19 inches (48 centimeters). Housemate Cygnus Regulus Powers holds the record for the domestic cat with the longest tail, measuring more than 17 inches (43 centimeters).

The cats live in Farmington Hills with Will and Lauren Powers. Guinness says they sought the records to raise awareness about a cat shelter.

Will Powers told The Detroit News that people often want to have photos taken with the cats, so they ask them for donations for the shelter.

He says both cats are about 2 years old. MLive.com reports that Arcturus could keep growing until age four or five.

JOE THE KANGAROO ESCAPES FROM PEN, HOPS DOWN A WISCONSIN HIGHWAY

It was a brief taste of freedom for Joey the kangaroo who kicked his way out of a pen at a southeast Wisconsin pumpkin farm, only to be rounded up by sheriff's deputies.

The Kenosha County Sheriff's Department received a call around 7 a.m. Thursday from someone who reported seeing an animal on Highway L in Somers, and that it looked kind of like a kangaroo.

Deputies were dispatched. And sure enough, there was Joey hopping down the highway, making his getaway. Deputies figured the kangaroo belonged to Jerry Smith's pumpkin farm just blocks away. Sheriff's officials say Joey was returned safely without injury.

HOLY COW! SPILLED MILK TURNS INDIANA CREEK WHITE

Authorities say an accidental milk spill at a food processing business ended up turning a central Indiana creek white.

The Kokomo Tribune reports the change in the hue of Cicero Creek in Tipton was noticed on Tuesday and investigators determined that no more than 300 gallons (1,100 liters) of milk spilled from the Park 100 Foods plant.

State environmental officials indicate the spill wasn't dangerous.

Crews used hay bales to help contain the milk and a cleanup company removed about 14,000 gallons (53,000 liters) of a water and milk mixture from the creek.

Tipton County Emergency Management Director Chuck Bell says the creek was back to its normal color on Wednesday.

TRUMP INVITES 11-YEAR-OLD BOY TO MOW ROSE GARDEN LAWN

The president got what you might call a grassroots display of support at the White House, welcoming an 11-year-old Virginia boy who offered to help cut the lawn.

President Donald Trump high-fived Frank Giaccio, who lives in the Washington suburb of Falls Church. The White House says Frank wrote Trump to say he admires the president's business acumen and runs his own neighborhood lawn-care business.

Frank was so focused on pushing the lawn mower, he didn't notice Trump had emerged to greet him until the president was next to him in the Rose Garden.

Trump says Frank is "the future of the country" and will soon be "very famous."

Frank said he wants to be a Navy SEAL, to which Trump exclaimed, "He'll make it."

NOW-FAMOUS FLORIDA NUN USED GOOGLE TO FIGURE OUT CHAIN SAW

The Florida nun who became an internet sensation when video emerged of her — dressed in full habit — wielding a chain saw to clear downed trees after Hurricane Irma says she had to look up instructions on how to start the tool.

"I actually had to Google it to find out how to start it because I'd forgotten how ... ," Sister Margaret Ann said. "The students have told me everything is online, sister; just ask the question online."

The nun, principal of Archbishop Coleman F. Carroll High School in Miami, said her mechanical education didn't stop with the Google search.

"Some people have sent me videos on how to use a chain saw because apparently I wasn't using it correctly or as safe as I should've been, so I'm learning, too," she told The Associated Press in a Skype interview. Many people posted warnings online that the nun's loose habit could get caught in the saw.

An off-duty Miami-Dade police officer posted the video of Sister Margaret Ann on social media Monday. The Miami-Dade Police Department praised her effort, saying: "Thank you Sister and all of our neighbors that are working together to get through this!"

The video was picked up by media outlets, including the AP, and quickly became a global sensation.

Sister Margaret Ann laughed off the attention, saying her students are enjoying watching her on social media. Some have even asked for her autograph.

"People are driving by and saying, 'Thank you, sister, thank you,'" she said. "So I think it has been really good for our community, and I understand that the video has really gone worldwide, so that's kinda funny."

She also said she was glad the video gave the public a different view of nuns.

"The students are telling me, they are saying, 'Sister, you're no wimp. You'll get out there and work with us.' And that is really the way it should be, and that's the way sisters really are. We are not just sitting back praying, or asking other people, or begging for money or anything like that."

She said she didn't even mind the fact that she had become known worldwide as the "chain saw sister," but the new moniker did make her laugh.

"If it's going bring back good memories for people, and we all learn and grow, it's good," she said.

ENGINEERS LAUNCH 'SEWER WAR' AGAINST BRITAIN'S GIANT FAT BLOB

British engineers say they have launched a "sewer war" against a giant fat blob clogging London's sewers.

Thames Water officials said Tuesday it is likely to take three weeks to dissolve the outsize fatberg.

They caution against expecting quick results as the fatberg is 250 yards long and weighs as much as 11 double-decker busses.

The unsavory blob consists of congealed wet wipes, diapers, fat and oil.

Thames Water's Matt Rimmer says the fatberg is "a total monster and taking a lot of manpower and machinery to remove as it's set hard."

He said the task is "basically like trying to break up concrete."

Eight workers are using high powered jet hoses to break up the blob before sucking it out into tankers for disposal at a recycling site.

Also, The Museum of London says it is trying to acquire a chunk of blob.

POLICE: THIEVES TAKE SUV PULLING U-HAUL WITH A CASKET INSIDE

Police say thieves have stolen an SUV and an attached U-Haul trailer — with a casket inside — outside an Albuquerque motel.

Albuquerque police say the heist occurred early Monday at a Residence Inn and the casket was later found not too far from the site it was taken.

Authorities say the casket contained the body of the victim's father-in-law.

The U-Haul was located after police searched for a black 2005 Chevy Trailblazer SUV with Oklahoma license plates.

Police said the deceased man's daughter and her husband were on their way from Oklahoma to Kirtland, New Mexico, to bury him.

No arrests have been made.

PATHOLOGIST SUSPECTED OF DRUNKEN DRIVING TOTED HUMAN ORGANS

Authorities in central Indiana say a pathologist arrested on suspicion of drunken driving had human organs and tissues in his pickup truck when he was pulled over along a rural highway.

Seventy-five-year-old Elmo Griggs was arrested Tuesday in the Morgan County town of Brooklyn after another motorist reported a truck driving erratically along Indiana 67 about 10 miles (16 kilometers) southwest of Indianapolis.

Griggs was released from jail after posting bail. Online court records don't list an attorney for him.

Morgan County Coroner Annette Rohlman says Griggs had several totes inside the truck and in its bed that contained brain and liver samples and internal organs for his private autopsy practice. She says it's not surprising that a pathologist would be transporting such samples.

BURGER BABIES: BABIES BORN ON BACK-TO-BACK DAYS OUTSIDE SAME BURGER KING

Two women have delivered healthy babies on back-to-back days in the parking lot of the same Burger King restaurant in New Jersey.

Denville police say they were called to the restaurant Friday night for a woman going into labor. They say the parents were on the way to the hospital but got stuck in traffic and had to pull over.

Officers and emergency responders then helped the woman deliver a healthy son.

The same patrol officers went back to the restaurant the next night for a report of another woman going into labor. Authorities say the couple was heading to the hospital when the woman started going through severe contractions.

Officers helped deliver another baby boy in the couple's vehicle.

POLICE: MAN NABBED TRYING TO ROB JUST-BURGLARIZED RESTAURANT

Police say a man with a knife tried to rob a Southern California pizza restaurant just a few hours after burglars had already stolen from it.

Covina police Lt. Trevor Gaumer tells the San Gabriel Valley Tribune (http://bit.ly/2f3Slm5) that burglars broke into Pizza Chalet on Tuesday and made off with $1,500.

As the owner was cleaning up after the burglary less than three hours later, the knife-wielding man walked in and demanded money.

The owner flagged down an officer providing extra patrol help.

Gaumer says the suspect, 19-year-old Ernest Ramirez, didn't listen to the officer's order to give himself up, and fought with arriving officers briefly until he was subdued.

Gaumer says Ramirez was treated for minor injuries.

COMPLAINTS ABOUT FESTIVAL'S COLD PIZZA PROMPT STATE INQUIRY

Some New York City foodies say a neighborhood pizza festival has left them with a bad taste in their mouths.

Prosecutors are looking into the New York City Pizza Festival after attendees fumed they paid $75 each to eat cold slivers of pizza in a parking lot in Brooklyn on Saturday.

The festival was promoted as a celebration of pizza. Attendees say on Facebook they instead got cold slices of pizza "smaller than a sample size," served with glasses of warm wine.

WNBC-TV reports Democratic state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman (SHNEYE'-dur-muhn) is urging attendees to file complaints on his website. A spokesman says prosecutors opened an investigation Monday.

Festival organizer Ishmael Osekre says event producer Hangry Garden delayed the event. The event producer contends it was misled by the organizer and wasn't paid.

ARKANSAS WOMAN ADMITS USING COUNTY CASH TO BUY DOG TUXEDO

A former administrative assistant to an Arkansas county official has pleaded guilty to fraudulent use of a credit card after prosecutors accused her of using public money to buy personal items, including a tuxedo for her pet pug.

Kristi Goss was set for trial this week but pleaded guilty Monday. Authorities accused Goss of fraudulently charging $200,000 to a Garland County credit card on purchases including the dog tuxedo, a diamond bracelet, tickets to Arkansas Razorbacks sporting events, sequined throw pillows and pet insurance.

Goss had worked as an administrative assistant for the Garland County judge in Hot Springs, about 45 miles (70 kilometers) southwest of Little Rock.

The Sentinel-Record reports Goss will be sentenced Nov. 22. A gag order prevents attorneys from speaking publicly about the case.

GRAVE HUMOR: HOUSE NEXT TO CEMETERY HAS 'QUIET NEIGHBORS'

A former administrative assistant to an Arkansas county official has pleaded guilty to fraudulent use of a credit card after prosecutors accused her of using public money to buy personal items, including a tuxedo for her pet pug.

Kristi Goss was set for trial this week but pleaded guilty Monday. Authorities accused Goss of fraudulently charging $200,000 to a Garland County credit card on purchases including the dog tuxedo, a diamond bracelet, tickets to Arkansas Razorbacks sporting events, sequined throw pillows and pet insurance.

Goss had worked as an administrative assistant for the Garland County judge in Hot Springs, about 45 miles (70 kilometers) southwest of Little Rock.

The Sentinel-Record reports Goss will be sentenced Nov. 22. A gag order prevents attorneys from speaking publicly about the case.

COPS: MAN'S GPS LED HIM TO DRIVE INTO PENNSYLVANIA RIVER

Police say a driver's global positioning system device caused him to drive into a Pennsylvania river.

The (Easton) Express-Times (http://bit.ly/2vT26GH ) says the motorist wound up in the Lehigh River in Easton shortly after 10:30 p.m. Saturday.

They say the man's GPS led him to drive along a bicycle path in a park. When the man realized he couldn't drive on the path, he reversed course but found he couldn't go that way either because of a tunnel under a low bridge.

Police say the man was unable to stay on the bike path because it narrowed, and his car rolled off the path sideways into the river.

Police say the driver wasn't hurt, but he was issued several traffic citations. Online court records didn't list them Wednesday.

INJURED HAWK 'HARVEY' THAT GAINED ONLINE POPULARITY RELEASED

An injured hawk that sought refuge in a Houston taxicab before Harvey made landfall last month has been returned to the wild.

Cabdriver William Bruso dubbed the female Cooper's hawk "Harvey the Hurricane Hawk" in online videos . He found her Aug. 25 before the hurricane made landfall that night and took her home. As Harvey's rains fell the next day, Liz Compton of the Texas Wildlife Rehabilitation Coalition Wildlife Center picked her up.

Compton says the hawk couldn't fly because of head trauma, probably from flying into something.

After a week and a half of treatment by Compton, the hawk was taken to a center near Dallas for exercise before being released.

A spokesman for the Dallas suburb of Plano says she was released in a park there Wednesday.

POLICE: TWO PEOPLE DRESSED AS NINJAS START FIRES

Police say two people dressed as ninjas broke into a New Jersey apartment building and set several fires.

Newark police officials say the unidentified man and woman broke in through a second-floor apartment. WNBC-TV reports (http://bit.ly/2eZIpGs ) that there is video showing the two exiting through a side entrance and running off down a hill.

Resident Melissa Ditonto says the alarm loudly alerted everyone to the fire and many people evacuated.

Police say the building's sprinkler system quickly doused the flames. No one was injured.

OHIO COUPLE: THIEF STOLE 15-POUND PET MINI PIG NAMED SPAM

Cleveland police are investigating a reported break-in after a couple said someone entered their home and stole their 15-pound pet pig named Spam, jewelry, TVs, and a camera.

The owners say they suspect the thief is planning to sell the miniature pig, which they say could be valued at as much as $1,000.

Valerie Couch posted about the missing pig on Facebook and says she hopes her public plea will lead the thief to return Spam.

Cleveland police say a detective will be assigned to the case.

BIKINI BARISTAS SUE WASHINGTON CITY OVER DRESS CODE LAW

Seven bikini baristas and the owner of a chain of the coffee stands sued the city of Everett, Washington, on Monday, saying two recently passed ordinances banning bare skin violate their right to free expression.

The suit, filed in U.S. District Court in Seattle, says the ordinances passed by the Everett City Council deny bikini-stand employees the ability to communicate through swimwear, are vague and confusing, and unlawfully target women.

"Just like Starbucks with green aprons, UPS with brown trucks and outfits, and Hooter's with short-orange shorts, the baristas' attire evokes a message at work," the lawsuit says, adding that such messages include "freedom, empowerment, openness, acceptance, approachability, vulnerability and individuality."

One of Everett's new laws requires the workers to wear a minimum of tank tops and shorts. It specifically applies to employees at "quick service" restaurants, which include fast food and food trucks. The other redefines the city's lewd conduct ordinance. Both took effect early this month.

The city cited "a proliferation of crimes of a sexual nature occurring at bikini barista stands throughout the city" in adopting the measures.

"Employees and owners of barista stands where this conduct occurs are making large sums of money from overtly sexual, lewd conduct, and prostitution," the city declared in one of the measures.

The city did not immediately return an email seeking comment Monday.

Among the allegations in the lawsuit is that the laws' definitions of what skin must be covered up are confusing. The dress code for baristas refers to the "upper and lower body," stomach, and back below the shoulder blades, among other areas.

"The length of a common woman's shirt is often short enough that stretching or bending would reveal part of her back or stomach," the lawsuit says.

The other measure bans "an exposure of more than one-half of the part of the female breast located below the top of the areola."

"To properly enforce the citywide ordinance, a police officer must determine the location of the 'top of a woman's areola,' which can only be seen by exposing the breast," the complaint says. "This would subject women to humiliating and offensive searches."

MAN FINED FOR DANGEROUS HOOVER DAM SWIM

Authorities say a Welsh tourist was ticketed for swimming across the iconic Hoover Dam near Las Vegas.

The Bureau of Reclamation's Regional Special Agent Ian Canaan says 28-year-old Arron Hughes of Wales was arrested and cited a $330 fine for the August incident.

Canaan says Hughes was apparently intoxicated when he climbed down the rocks on the Arizona side of the dam and swam across the reservoir to the Nevada side.

The Hoover Dam opened in 1936, generating the first electric power produced by the dam.

Located at the Nevada-Arizona border, the Hoover Dam and other Colorado River facilities now provide drinking water and hydropower to about 40 million residents, farms, tribes and businesses in seven states in the Southwest.

Canaan says Hughes was lucky to survive the dangerous swim.

GATOR DOWN UNDER: POLICE CALLED TO GET 'GATOR OUT FROM 18-WHEELER

It wasn't the typical traffic call for police in the Alabama city of Tuscaloosa.

Police were dispatched to a local business where a truck driver reported that an alligator had crawled underneath his 18-wheeler.

Police told Alabama news outlets that the gator measured nearly 8 feet long.

Employees from the Tuscaloosa Police Department's Traffic Division and Tuscaloosa Department of Transportation's Animal Control were among those who captured the alligator.

It was turned over to Alabama Game and Fish to be transported to Gainesville, Alabama, and released back into its natural habitat.

ROBOT CONDUCTS TENOR BOCELLI, ORCHESTRA IN PISA

Tenor Andrea Bocelli has brought down the house at Pisa's Teatro Verdi by performing with an unusual conductor: a robot.

The white, two-armed YuMi robot, designed by the Swiss company ABB for factory assembly lines, led Bocelli and the Lucca Philharmonic Orchestra in Verdi's "La Donna e Mobile" on Tuesday night at Pisa's inaugural International Robotics Festival.

Bocelli, who is blind, follows the music and is sensitive to the variabilities brought to a performance by different conductors.

He declared YuMi a capable conductor, saying the robot had been "programmed well."

The Lucca orchestra's regular conductor, Andrea Colombini, praised YuMi but said "he lacks sensitivity, most of all he lacks interaction. If the orchestra should make an error, YuMi doesn't stop."

Bocelli heads a foundation that helped organize the festival.

VERMONT POLICE SEEK PANDA-COSTUME WEARING THEFT SUSPECT

A Vermont police department is asking for help identifying a suspect wearing a panda costume believed to have stolen an airsoft rifle from a sports store.

Williston police say the costumed suspect walked into the Dicks Sporting Goods at about 8:20 p.m. Monday, picked up the airsoft rifle and ran out of the store without paying for it.

Police responded, but were unable to locate the suspect.

Store employees told police the suspect had been in the store earlier Monday — sans panda outfit — and looked at the same rifle, but left without buying it. He told employees he'd be back to buy it.

Airsoft firearms shoot pellets and are usually powered by springs or compressed air.

SPACEX BLOOPERS VIDEO: 'HOW NOT TO LAND AN ORBITAL ROCKET'

SpaceX has put together a bloopers video showing "How NOT to land an orbital rocket booster."

Set to John Philip Sousa's rousing march "The Liberty Bell," the two-minute video posted Thursday shows rockets exploding at sea and over land. The opening blast, from 2013, is even synchronized to the music.

SpaceX chief Elon Musk can afford to poke fun at his early, pioneering efforts at rocket recycling, now that his private company has pulled off 16 successful booster landings. The most recent occurred last week in Florida.

"We messed up a lot before it finally worked, but there's some epic explosion footage," Musk said recently on Twitter.

In one video shot, Musk looks over a rocket's charred remains with the caption: "It's just a scratch." After another huge fiery explosion, this one on the company's barge, the caption reads: "Well, technically, it did land ... just not in one piece."

Musk tweeted Thursday that when the Falcon rocket's upper stage and the cargo enclosure can also be retrieved and reused, launch costs will drop by a factor of more than 100.

For now, SpaceX's first-stage boosters— 15 stories tall — separate shortly after liftoff and fly back to Cape Canaveral Air Force Station or an ocean platform for a vertical touchdown. Until the company's recovery efforts — unique among rocket makers launching spacecraft into orbit — these segments were discarded at sea. A couple of these recycled rockets already have launched a second time.

The video ends with scenes of the first successful booster touchdown at Cape Canaveral in 2015 and the first one on an ocean platform in 2016.

"The Liberty Bell" march was the theme music for the old "Monty Python" comedy TV series.

RESEARCHER GETS ZAPPED BY ELECTRIC EEL — FOR SCIENCE

For the sake of science, a Vanderbilt University researcher stuck his arm into an electric eel tank to study its shock power.

The conclusion: touching a small eel, like the 16-inch one Ken Catania worked with, feels like accidentally touching a horse fence. For big eels eight feet or longer, it's like getting shocked by nine stun guns at once.

A Vanderbilt news release and video Thursday show Catania put his arm into the tank 10 times. He says that was the only way to accurately measure the circuit created by the eel, his arm and the water.

Catania used an equation to extrapolate data from the small eel to measure the power of bigger ones.

The biological sciences professor previously documented how eels leap out of water to attack.

7 TIGERS, 6 LIONS AND A LEOPARD FOUND IN ARKANSAS BARN

An Arkansas Game and Fish Commission spokesman says authorities are investigating the discovery of tigers, lions and a leopard in a barn in Arkansas.

Spokesman Randy Zellers says that seven tigers, six lions and one leopard were discovered Saturday in Poinsett County in cages.

Zeller says the Poinsett County Sheriff's Department went to the scene after receiving an anonymous tip.

State law generally prohibits ownership of such animals with some exemptions, including accredited zoos and people with permits that they obtained the animal years ago.

Zeller says no arrests have been made in connection with the discovery.

Authorities suspect the animals probably were going to be shipped to Germany.

Zeller says the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission put a security detail there to monitor the animals.

SIDES AGREE TO STOP MONKEYING AROUND IN PRIMATE SELFIE SUIT

Monkey see. Monkey sue. Monkey settle.

Attorneys representing a macaque monkey have agreed to a compromise in a case where they asserted that the animal owned the copyright to selfies it had shot with a photographer's camera.

The lawyers, who are from People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, say the photographer has agreed to donate 25 percent of any future revenue from the images to charities dedicated to protecting crested macaques in Indonesia like this one.

Attorneys for PETA and the photographer, David Slater, asked the San Francisco-based 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Monday to dismiss the case and throw out a lower-court decision that said animals cannot own copyrights.

The court had not immediately ruled on the proposed settlement.

SMUGGLED BENGAL TIGER CUB GETS NEW PLAYMATE AT SAN DIEGO ZOO

The Bengal tiger cub that a California man bought on the streets of Tijuana and was seized when he tried to bring it home has a new playmate at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park.

The San Diego Union-Tribune reports (http://bit.ly/2fgaslv ) a nine-week-old Sumatran tiger cub was flown from the National Zoo in Washington, D.C. on Monday to join the other cub.

The cub bought in Tijuana was confiscated last month after U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials found it inside an 18-year-old's car.

U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service officials handed the male cat over to the care of the Safari Park.

Zoo officials have said the mother of the cub at the Washington Zoo had become increasingly aggressive to the male cub.

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Last week in odd news: http://apne.ws/yj8SYzf

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