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The Odd Truth, Feb. 13, 2004

The Odd Truth is a collection of strange but factual news stories from around the world compiled by's Brian Bernbaum. A new collection of stories is published each weekday. On weekends, you can read a week's worth of The Odd Truth.

Town Spirit Banned

CLIMAX, Minn. - Showing town spirit in Climax is cause for punishment in this Minnesota town.

Shirley Moberg, superintendent of Climax-Shelly schools, said T-shirts bearing the town's slogan "Climax - More than just a feeling," are inappropriate because of the sexual innuendo.

About a dozen students wore centennial T-shirts to school this week in protest, and one girl was sent home Wednesday for refusing to turn her shirt inside out.

School officials had said nothing to students wearing the shirts until recently, when a teacher wore it to school and a person complained. The shirts are no longer allowed to be worn at school, she said.

Climax, a town of 270 near the North Dakota border, adopted the "More than a feeling" slogan in 1996 for its centennial. The slogan was used in advertising and promotions, and the T-shirts have been around for years.

The students who wore the shirt to school Wednesday were told to go to the bathroom and turn it inside out. All did, except 18-year-old Bethany Grove, a senior, who was suspended for the afternoon.

"The T-shirt has been a tradition," Grove said. "It's been around for almost 10 years. A lot of people have them."

Indecent Proposal

YORK, Penn. - What would you do if a man offered to pay your teenage daughter for sex while she was shopping?

Jimmy Hunt punched the man in the face. Prosecutors in York, Pennsylvania, charged Hunt with disorderly conduct and simple assault. But they later dropped the charges after concluding that no jury would convict him.

Prosecutor Bill Graff says you can't take the law into your own hands, but it's likely that they'd get parents who'd say that's what they'd do if it was their daughter.

There's no disputing the fact that Hunt punched Armondo Hernandez in the face after he approached Hunt's 17-year-old daughter while she was shopping for nail polish at a Wal-Mart. Hunt called police after the incident.

Hernandez has pleaded guilty to indecent assault and harassment.

Meth, Crack In The Classroom

NEWPORT, Ark. - A prison math teacher was reprimanded for substituting units of cocaine and methamphetamines while testing inmates on their multiplication skills.

Instead of using apples and oranges to calculate ratios, the instructor at an Arkansas prison used rocks of cocaine and meth ingredients. Among the questions:

- "Rico sells 422 rocks per week in four different territories. He wants to expand to seven different territories. If he continues to sell at the same rate how many rocks per week will he sell in seven territories?"

- "Jim Bob is cookin crystal meth in his back yard." After giving the formula for meth, the teacher posed the question, "How many Sudafedrine pills must he mix with 2.8 quarters of amonia?"

The teacher said he learned the equation from his students, according to Arkansas Department of Correction spokeswoman Dina Tyler.

"Which makes sense - they're the ones who would know," Tyler said.

A letter of reprimand was placed in the teacher's file, she said.

By the way, the answer to the first question above is 738.5 rocks.

Way To Ruin The Moment ...

MIAMI - U.S. border officials destroyed about 10,000 roses that were imported illegally from South America in the pre-Valentine's Day surge.

The flowers from Colombia and Ecuador were grown or distributed without payment of royalties or fees on trademark brands, said Jeffrey Baldwin, port director for U.S. Customs and Border Patrol at Miami International Airport.

Authorities have been destroying boxes of roses since late January, "and we're still looking," Baldwin said Thursday.

Agents said they acted on evidence from two flower industry groups that license the blooms and regulate patents and trademarks. Agents could then determine which rose boxes were stamped illegally with trademarks, perhaps containing flowers from illegal cuttings or unlicensed operations.

About 70 percent of all cut flowers sold in the United States are imported, and about 85 percent of those come through Miami International Airport, according to the Society of American Florists and airport statistics.

'That Damn Old Man From Texas'

STOCKHOLM, Sweden - Sweden's former migration minister won't face charges for calling President Bush "that damn old man from Texas," an investigator said Friday.

Jan O. Karlsson's comment during a press lunch in May 2003 was protected by free speech laws, Justice Chancellor Goeran Lambertz told Swedish news agency TT.

The chancellor's office investigates complaints against government officials.

An unidentified person filed a complaint against Karlsson saying his statement was discriminatory and demeaning to the U.S. government, TT reported.

Two days after the press lunch, Karlsson told The Associated Press he couldn't recall his exact words, but said he had expressed strong opinions about the U.S. policies on AIDS prevention and population control in developing countries.

Karlsson, who left the government in October, was often criticized in Swedish media for being too outspoken.

Underwear Famine Comes To An End

PALMER, Alaska - Palmer will have underwear once more.

This small town has not had panties and briefs since the early 1990s. That's not to suggest the locals are not wearing underwear. They are, or so they assure us, and this being cold, cold Alaska, we're inclined to take their word for it.

But ever since three stores in Palmer closed, there has been no place in town to buy underwear, or any other clothes for that matter, except for a tourist T-shirt. People have to drive 20 miles round-trip to Wasilla, or 80 miles round-trip to Anchorage, to buy their drawers.

But those days are about to end with the opening March 3 of a Fred Meyer supermarket in this town of 5,500.

"Yes, we will have underwear," store manager John Mayer said to whoops, laughter and applause Wednesday at a Palmer Chamber of Commerce luncheon.

The store, part of a division of the Kroger Co., will have a small selection of underwear as a special gesture to Mayor Jim Cooper, who lobbied for clothing on behalf of his constituents. There will be panties and briefs for men and women, and socks, too. (Sorry, no boxers.)

"As a start it's good," Cooper said. "There was going to be no clothes at all, but I'm really looking to get that expanded. The town has a need and more than that a desire to have more clothing, whether it's seasonal, jeans and shoes and that kind of stuff."

The men of Palmer have not been able to buy underwear in town since the mid-1980s, when Koslosky's general store and Hammakers department store closed. Women have been out of options since the early 1990s, when the Fun 'n' Fancy closed its doors.

Hitchin' A Ride, On Accident

CHARLESTON, S.C. - It started out as a tranquil night watching the sun set and the stars rise. But, for three Charleston young people, it turned into a harrowing 22-mile ride atop a moving freight train.

Jack Lowther, 22, his 18-year-old girlfriend Jacklyn "Blair" Gary, and Mary Allison Morris, 21, were watching the sky from a bridge Tuesday evening when they decided to climb aboard a parked freight car for a better view, he said.

They soon discovered that was a bad idea.

"We were on top, and it started moving," said Lowther. "I started trying to get everyone off the train, but the girls were too scared because it had already started to pick up speed."

They lay down on top of a box car as the train picked up speed, slipping under bridges that were too low for comfort.

The young people were too far back on the train to signal the conductor and there was no one along the wooded tracks to call to. Lowther then climbed down between two freight cars and helped his companions do so.

Although the reception was poor, Morris managed to call 911 on a cell phone and Shawanna Curnell, a dispatcher with the Charleston County Sheriff's Office, knew something was wrong.

Misty Skipper, a spokeswoman for CSX, said freight trains in the area generally run no faster than 59 mph.

When the train slowed to about 20 mph, Gary jumped, banged her head and was knocked unconscious, Lowther said.

Lowther and Morris waited for the train to slow more before they jumped themselves. They found Gary and helped her about two miles through a marshy area toward some lights.

They reached U.S. Highway 17 and Lowther's mother was able to reach him on his cell phone and call deputies who picked them up.

Gary, who also banged her head while on the train, seemed better Wednesday but had no recollection of the ride, he said.

"I just want to tell everyone else not to try this," Lowther said. "It's not fun."

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