Originally created 04/01/04

Odds and Ends



RACINE, Wis. -- Jeremy Peterson sure was glad when his pet, Joe, came home - until health officials told the teenager the duck had to go.

A city ordinance prevents homeowners from keeping "livestock" within city limits. That includes Joe, a white Pekin duck.

Joe ventured through an open gate onto the street near his home on March 11. His owners then put an ad in The Journal Times of Racine, which read: "LOST: White Pekin Duck (looks like AFLAC duck), Joe. Last seen 1400 block of Hayes Avenue."

A man found Joe on the street and took him to his friend, who saw the ad and brought the duck home.

The happy ending was told in The Journal Times - which was how health officials found out about Joe.

Jeremy, 13, and his mother, Teresa Schultz-Huissen, are now looking for a new home for their feathered friend.

They want a country setting and a pond, "with endless visitation rights," Schultz-Huissen said. Jeremy said a home with other ducks would be good, too.

"He's kind of getting feisty because he doesn't have another duck to play with," Jeremy said.

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LUDLOW, Ky. -- Police have charged a northern Kentucky man with trying to buy a vote with a 12-pack of beer.

Edward Lucas offered the beer to an 18-year-old student at Ludlow High School in exchange for a no vote on a proposed increase in school property taxes, Ludlow police officer James Tucker said in an affidavit.

Lucas, 40, denied the charge.

"I don't know the boy, and that's not exactly what was said," Lucas said. "I said, 'I hope it doesn't go through and if it doesn't, I'm going to have a big beer party."'

Lucas was arrested Friday and released on bond Saturday.

Police dispute his version of the exchange, but declined to give specifics.

The tax increase was on the ballot Tuesday and lost. It would have generated about $75,000 a year for school construction projects.

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WASHINGTON TERRACE, Utah -- A slice of local politics is making it all the way to Japan - thanks to an obscure Utah rule that allowed deadlocked mayoral candidates to roll the dice to see who wins.

Mark Allen and Robert Garside both finished with 724 votes in this town's Nov. 4 race for mayor.

Under Utah law, tie votes must be decided by drawing lots, which can mean anything from flipping a coin to drawing a name out of a hat, or, in this case, a toss of the dice.

The unusual political gamble caught the attention of Japan's Fuji TV, which decided to recreate the contest for an April broadcast of "Fountain of Trivia," a variety show, said Hide Miyauchi, a Fuji TV production manager.

The real dice roll took place Nov. 14. With quick flicks of the wrist, Allen rolled a 4 and a 1 for the top score while Garside rolled a pair of 2's. That gave Allen a third term in office.

Producers didn't want anything to get lost in translation.

Crews asked Allen and Garside to re-enact the dice roll with a 2-foot-wide die. The candidates were asked to glare at each other, then roll the oversized die several times.

"They wanted us to act really serious," Garside said.

Garside rolled a pair of ones, while Allen's rolls included a six and a four.

"I lost again," Garside said, laughing.

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KEARNEY, Neb. -- A 14-month-old boy spent about an hour locked in an enormous safe that his parents had converted into his nursery.

"It seemed like five hours," said the boy's mother Elizabeth Bond. "I was panicked."

She said her son, CeJay, was crying on the other side of the door.

Dustin and Elizabeth Bond moved their family into the house two months ago. The house, about five miles east of Kearney, was formerly a business.

The Bonds said when they bought the house, they were told the safe's lock was disabled.

The 8-foot by 10-foot safe has a ventilation system and the lights are controlled from the outside.

In a stroke of luck, locksmith Lee Rowedder got the door open using a combination that is commonly coded into safes like the one in the Bonds house.

She said that after her son was freed, her panic turned to anger because she felt the previous owners had misled her about the lock being disabled.

Before leaving, Rowedder disabled the lock as Dustin Bond watched. Just to be sure, the Bonds asked Rowedder to remove the safe door.