Originally created 08/20/04

Odds and Ends



BAKER LAKE, Wash. -- When state Fish and Wildlife agents recently found a black bear passed out on the lawn of Baker Lake Resort, there were some clues scattered nearby - dozens of empty cans of Rainier Beer.

The bear apparently got into campers' coolers and used his claws and teeth to puncture the cans. And not just any cans.

"He drank the Rainier and wouldn't drink the Busch beer," said Lisa Broxson, bookkeeper at the campground and cabins resort east of Mount Baker.

Fish and Wildlife enforcement Sgt. Bill Heinck said the bear did try one can of Busch, but ignored the rest. The beast then consumed about 36 cans of Rainier.

A wildlife agent tried to chase the bear from the campground but the animal just climbed a tree to sleep it off for another four hours. Agents finally herded the bear away, but it returned the next morning.

Agents then used a large, humane trap to capture it for relocation, baiting the trap with the usual: doughnuts, honey and, in this case, two open cans of Rainier.

That did the trick.

"This is a new one on me," Heinck said. "I've known them to get into cans, but nothing like this. And it definitely had a preference."

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NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. -- What do you call a sandwich made of chicken fingers, mozzarella sticks and french fries? Around here, it's called a Fat Darrell - and you also can call it a winning combo.

The "Fat Darrell" has been crowned the best sandwich in the country by Maxim magazine. Maxim's September issue, which lists the top 10 sandwiches, hits newsstands Tuesday.

The concoction was created early one morning in 1997 by Darrell Butler after a night of partying. Butler, a Rutgers University sophomore, conceived of the sandwich as a way to save money by combining his various cravings on one bun.

"Separately, they would have cost me, like, $12.75, and I was on a college budget," Butler, 26, of Eatontown. The Fat Darrell is named for its caloric content, not Butler, a 160-pound physical trainer and aspiring actor.

"So, I'm standing there eating it, and all of a sudden the guy standing behind me says, 'That thing that guy's eating looks pretty good, can you make me one of those?' And, it was like a movie scene, the next 10 people order the same thing. So, I'm like, 'Whoa!' like I think I might be onto something."

The man who assembled the sandwich was Abdul Eid, working in an R.U. Hungry food truck, parked in a campus lot in New Brunswick, catering to beer-soaked undergraduates with the late-night munchies.

Eid now runs R.U. Hungry Grill & Pizza, a store on Easton Avenue he was able to open in part due to the success of the $4.75 Fat Darrell.

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ANCHORAGE, Alaska -- An Alaska gardener has done the seemingly impossible: growing a record-breaking cantaloupe, a fruit that craves heat and founders in rain.

In a season marked by hotter and drier weather than usual, Scott Robb has produced a 64.8-pound muskmelon - an unofficial world record. He plans to enter the colossal fruit in the Alaska State Fair in Palmer next week.

The yearly fair draws crowds gawking at giant produce that thrive in the Matanuska Valley's rich glacial soils and long days. But those are cold-weather crops, such as cabbages and kohlrabis.

Growing a mammoth melon in Alaska is virtually unheard of. The current world-record cantaloupe belongs to a grower in the loamy, sun-baked fields of North Carolina. So did the record before that.

Robb, a perennial winner of giant produce competitions, started his cantaloupe in a greenhouse in April. He hand-pollinated the melon, then surrounded it with mousetraps to deter rodents.

The it grew. And grew.

The official weight of Robb's melon came in 1.3 pounds over the current record. Guinness World Records still needs to certify it, a process that can take up to six months.

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ATHENS, Pa. -- Two officers learned a valuable lesson this week: Always take the keys from your patrol car.

Athens Township police officers Thomas J. Vanfleet Jr. and Nathan Ross said they pulled over Jeremy Jacob Friedlander, 21, on Monday night because his Jeep had improperly installed lights and because the license plate was obstructed.

Friedlander told the officers he had a rifle between the front seats and the officers sat him at the rear of the police cruiser while they searched the Jeep. Friedlander then allegedly jumped through the passenger's door and into the driver's seat, where he started the car and pulled away.

Vanfleet managed to get partly into the vehicle and struggled with Friedlander as he drove off, eventually shifting the car into park and pulling the keys from the ignition.

Friedlander was charged Tuesday with aggravated assault, kidnapping, resisting arrest and possession of a prohibited weapon.