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The Odd Truth, April 26, 2004

The Odd Truth is a collection of strange but factual news stories from around the world compiled by's Brian Bernbaum.

Roast Beef Hogs?

SALT LAKE CITY - A couple on a low-carb diet were kicked out of a buffet restaurant after the manager said they'd eaten too much roast beef.

Sui Amaama, who along with his wife have been on the Atkins Diet for two weeks, was asked to leave after he went up to the buffet at the Chuck-A-Rama in suburban Taylorsville for his 12th slice of roast beef.

"It's so embarrassing actually," said Isabelle Leota, Amaama's wife. "We went in to have dinner, we were under the impression Chuck-A-Rama was an all-you-can-eat establishment."

Not so, said Jack Johanson, the restaurant chain's district manager.

"We've never claimed to be an all-you-can-eat establishment," said Johanson. "Our understanding is a buffet is just a style of eating."

The general manager who was carving the meat Tuesday became concerned about having enough for other patrons and asked Amaama to stop, Johanson said.

Offended, the couple asked for a refund. The manager refused and called police when they would not leave.

The couple said they have eaten at Chuck-A-Rama's $8.99 buffet at least twice a week, but did not plan to return.

Police Spray, Stun Elderly Woman

PORTLAND - The city of Portland has agreed to pay $145,000 to an elderly blind woman.

Police pepper-sprayed and shocked 71-year-old Eunice Crowder with a stun gun last June after she tried to stop a city employee from removing trash from her yard.

Officials cited her for disobeying orders.

Last month, a Multnomah County Circuit Court judge dismissed the violations against her.

The incident began when city employees showed up at Crowder's home and served her with a search warrant to remove the trash.

She followed them outside concerned that they had removed a family heirloom, a 90-year-old toy wagon.

Crowder was trying to get inside the trailer where they were piling the trash when police arrived.

Officers hit her on the head, dislodging her prosthetic eye from its socket. They sprayed her in the eye and tased her.

Officers say Crowder ignored their commands, kicked and bit them.

Car Crash Saves Man's Life

HICKORY, N.C. - A Georgia man credits a highway crash that totaled his truck with saving his life.

Eddie May Jr. began choking on a piece of food about noon Friday as he was driving east on Interstate 40 near Hickory, said Highway Patrol Trooper Robert Abernathy. May told authorities he started getting dizzy, then blacked out.

His Ford F-350 crossed the median and grazed a westbound tractor-trailer, Abernathy said, and the force of the impact dislodged the food from May's throat.

May regained consciousness after the crash and crawled out of the vehicle, Abernathy said. He wasn't wearing a safety belt.

The crash occurred during lunch hour on a busy highway but no subsequent accidents were reported, "believe it or not," Abernathy said.

Message In A Bottle Surfaces In Hawaii

HONOLULU - A bottle apparently dropped in the ocean by a Japanese student 12 years ago has washed ashore at Hanauma Bay, Hawaii.

The glass bottle with algae growing on it and a brittle note inside surfaced Wednesday at a popular snorkeling site on Oahu's eastern shore.

According to the note, an eighth-grader at a school in Iwate, Japan - Kazumasa Miura - cast the bottle into the ocean on January 11, 1992, while on a boat off the Miyako Islands, which are south of Japan, southwest of Okinawa and east of Taiwan.

Experts say the find was uncommon because things from Japan rarely make their way to Hawaii via ocean currents.

Cop Shoots Dog, Gets Fired, Sues

TAMAQUA, Pa. - A Pennsylvania police officer says he thought he was doing the humane thing when he shot a schnauzer who'd been reported hit by a car.

Not everyone agrees.

The dog's outraged owner complained. Residents questioned the officer's judgment. His superiors began an investigation.

A few weeks after the death of Whiskers, the 15-year-old dog was exhumed for an autopsy.

Debate swirled in rural Rush Township, about 70 miles northwest of Philadelphia: Could the dog have been saved?

After a series of disciplinary hearings, township officials concluded officer Scott Michalesko had acted recklessly in shooting the dog - and they fired him.

Now the veteran police officer is suing to get his job back - a case his attorney calls "ridiculous" and "bizarre."

Wrong Roof

VIENNA, W.Va. - Loraine Stout returned home to find a crew preparing to install a new roof.

Problem was, she didn't order one.

The crew had the right street address, but not the right road. The intended customer was a few houses away on another street.

"I don't understand how roofing contractors could not distinguish a brand new roof from one that needed to be replaced," Stout said.

William Kiger of Belpre, Ohio-based Jackson General Contracting called it "an honest mistake."

The intended homeowner, Debbie Richardson, said it's not uncommon in her neighborhood. She said work had been done by mistake on her home's water softener a few years ago.

"I think the streets are confusing here," she said. "I mean it's not the first time it's happened to where we've had a delivery here for someone else."

Stout, who had a new roof put on her home a year ago, returned home Wednesday from an out-of-town business trip and found nails, shingles and its residue all over the yard, driveway and deck.

"If it weren't me, I would find a little humor, too. I can't say that it's funny. I'm just amazed," she said.

The crew had removed shingles from the back, top section of her Wood County home. The mistake has since been reversed, but Stout claims that section will still have to be redone due to scuffed or torn shingles.

Elderly Woman Survives Alligator Attack

SANIBEL, Fla. - A 74-year-old woman survived an attack by a nearly 10-foot-long alligator that bit her on the leg and arm and dragged her into a lake.

Jane C. Keefer was stable and in good condition at HealthPark Medical Center early Thursday, hospital officials said.

Police said Keefer was attacked at about 8 p.m. Wednesday as she was gardening near the bank behind her home.

Bitten first on the leg, Keefer was able to fight the alligator off, Sanibel Police Chief Bill Tomlinson said.

The reptile lunged at her a second time, biting her arm and dragging her into the water, before her husband, William, was able to help her get away, said Lar Gregory, an investigator with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.

Authorities captured the alligator at 10:45 p.m. behind Keefer's home. It will be destroyed.

"This is the kind of gator that will kill you," said trapper John French.