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Walter Breuning (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)

Quick Takes

Oddball occurrences

Issue: "Save the unions," Oct. 24, 2009

A long life

Walter Bruening has lived in three different centuries, remembers his grandfather talking about serving as a Union soldier during the Civil War, and this summer became the world's oldest man. The 113-year-old resident of Great Falls, Mont., says diet and exercise are the keys to his longevity: He eats only two meals a day, and he gets exercise by walking through the halls of the Rainbow retirement home with the help of a walker.

Home wreckers

Apparently high on marijuana and vittles, a pair of Athens, Ga., teens were caught making themselves at home at a local woman's house. The homeowner arrived home late on Sept. 26 to discover the teens lounging about. Startled, she kicked them out and soon discovered the pair had broken in through the kitchen window and had taken 20 Fruit Roll-Ups, a jug of fruit juice, and a few pieces of jewelry. Police later caught the teens and were able to return about half the Fruit Roll-Ups to the woman, but confiscated the small bag of marijuana they found on the pair.

Flower power play

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If you ask Briton Angie Summers, her fellow citizens should be thanking her. Instead, a passerby who noticed the 43-year-old Wiltshire, U.K., resident pulling a dead flower out of a public garden display phoned police who showed up at her residence soon after to threaten her with prison time for her vigilante gardening. Authorities eventually dropped the case, acknowledging her "good intentions."

Share to care

Want to help your teenager avoid an accident? Don't let him have his own car and make him sign a contract before he drives yours. Research published by Children's Hospital of Philadelphia in the October issue of the journal Pediatrics suggests that one quarter of all teen drivers who have their own car have been in an automobile accident while driving. Only 10 percent of teens who shared their vehicle with another family member have crashed the car. Researchers wrote in the same article that teens who have to sign a safe-driving contract with their parents perform better on the road.

Focused anger

Rochester, Minn., police arrested an out-of-town man on Sept. 27 after an officer discovered the man kicking and punching one of the city's goose sculptures. The 28-year-old from Salt Lake City, whom police did not identify, had been in town for a wedding and told officers the goose statue angered him. Authorities say alcohol was involved.

Rich rock

If you're looking for large diamonds, there may not be a better place than the Premier Mine in Cullinan, South Africa. Miners recently unearthed an egg-sized precious stone said to be among the 20 most high-quality diamonds ever discovered. The discovery of the 507.55-carat gem on Sept. 24 comes more than 104 years after the discovery of the Cullinan Diamond, which weighed in at a record 3,106.75 carats in its rough form. Officials with Petra Diamonds said the recent discovery has "exceptional color and clarity" though it has yet to be priced.

Stationary target

Vandals added insult to injury on Sept. 26 when they took aim at a car that had become stuck in a sinkhole in Gwinnett County, Ga. Police say motorist Ira Young accidentally drove into a sinkhole that morning that had formed on a residential road in a northeastern Atlanta suburb. Unsure whether the surrounding ground would be able to hold a crane to hoist the car out of the hole, emergency workers left the vehicle there overnight. The next morning, Young reported to police that vandals had sliced open his car's seat cushions and stolen his radio.

A very big boy

Muhammad Akbar Risuddin is not the heaviest baby ever born, but he's not a lightweight, either. The 24.4-inch-long newborn, delivered by cesarean-section on Sept. 21 in Indonesia, weighed in at 19.2 pounds, which is about triple the typical weight of a newborn. Binsar Sitanggang, the lead doctor in the case at Abdul Manan Hospital in North Sumatra, told the AFP news service that Risuddin had breathing problems shortly after delivery but is healthy now: "He's got strong appetite, every minute, it's almost nonstop feeding." The heaviest newborn baby on record was born in Ohio in 1879 weighing 23.8 pounds.

A ton of trouble

Now that authorities in San Joaquin County, Calif., have built their mobile law enforcement command center, they have one last hurdle: getting the hulk street legal. The county spent $500,000 on the RV-sized mobile command center designed to help county officials with responses to natural disasters and police investigations, but never bothered to check to see whether the law allows for the specialty vehicle to be driven on the county's roads. Turns out, it doesn't. The vehicle is one ton over the weight limit for two-axle vehicles, meaning deputies must drive the behemoth to Ohio for a costly retrofit of another axle.


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