Truth stranger — and funnier — than fiction

Published 12:00 am Sunday, September 25, 2011

It is often said that truth is stranger than fiction, but that may not be a strong enough expression to sum up some of the headlines we see in the newspaper business each week.

We try to share a few of these odds and ends each Monday in The Tribune. But, sometimes, there are so many that we just can’t wait to print them.

Here are a few from the Associated Press that caught my attention over the weekend. I added my own commentary at the end of each.

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Raw-chicken vandalism leads to conviction in Colorado

DENVER (AP) — A Denver man convicted of placing raw chicken in his ex-wife’s heating ducts and other acts of vandalism could face up to 18 years in prison.

KDVR-TV reports that 58-year-old Ronald Smith also poured an unknown substance into a baby grand piano and erased a hard drive on his ex-wife’s computer.

Authorities say the vandalism caused thousands in damages.

The station reports a Denver jury deliberated for about six hours Wednesday before finding Smith guilty of second-degree burglary and criminal mischief.

I’m sure this guy will be a hit in prison. “What did you do to get in here, man?” “Well, I wasted perfectly good chicken to make my wife’s house smell.”

Pennsylvania man gets two DUI arrests in same night

WASHINGTON, Pa. (AP) — Police have charged a man in western Pennsylvania with driving drunk twice in the same night — the second time about 15 minutes after they released him into the custody of a friend.

Online court records don’t list an attorney for 58-year-old Robert Brodnick, of Washington, Pa., who was arrested Monday night by the state police.

Police charge that Brodnick’s blood-alcohol limit was at least double what the law allows when he was arrested. Trooper Joseph Christy says troopers released Brodnick to the custody of a “responsible party” but say that person must have dropped of Brodnick at his vehicle because the same trooper who arrested Brodnick saw him driving again.

Brodnick said he had two or three beers and just wanted to drive his new car home.

The best part is that it was the same trooper. I wonder if the criminal has to pay twice the court costs?

Grayson residents oppose tax cut

GRAYSON, Ky. (AP) — In an unusual move, residents of one eastern Kentucky town are opposing a plan to cut taxes.

A crowd of people attended a Carter County school board meeting Monday night and urged its members to reconsider a proposal to cut taxes by 3 cents per $100 of assessed property value, according to The Independent.

The board voted 4-1 at a special meeting last week to lower the tax rate.

One of those who addressed the board was teacher, parent and taxpayer Darlene Gillespie, who said the tax cut “”would most hurt the kids whose parents can’t afford to help.”

Board of education members did not make any statements after the comments and took no further action on the proposed cut.

Wow. That wouldn’t happen around here. Seems like taxes and fees go only one way.

Ohio baseball mascot has lost its head — literally

AVON, Ohio (AP) — An Ohio minor league baseball mascot who kept fans guessing about his whereabouts during the past season now really is missing.

The costume head of the Lake Erie Crushers’ bear, Stomper, disappeared in August from the club’s ballpark in Avon, west of Cleveland. The team believes a thief took the head, possibly because a door was left unlocked.

WEWS-TV reports the mascot could not appear at the season’s last eight games.

A Crushers online contest called “Where’s Stomper?” had described an Ohio landmark where the mascot supposedly stopped. Fans who guessed correctly could win free tickets.

The team says it won’t ask any questions if Stomper’s head is returned.

Hmm. Have they tried interrogating the Reds’ mascot? What about the Cubs? I smell a feud.

Sometimes things like these can be good for a laugh to help soften the more serious headlines.

To quote singer Jimmy Buffett, “If we couldn’t laugh we would all go insane.”

I think he is on to something.

Michael Caldwell is publisher of The Tribune. To reach him, call (740) 532-1445 ext. 24 or by e-mail at