Giant Sinkhole Swallows Cars, Trucks, Buses

An entire Canadian town may be in danger of being gobbled up by the earth.

As many as 12 cars, trucks and other vehicles, including a 40-foot trailer, disappeared into a huge sinkhole near the downtown of Timmins, Ont., reports the Timmins Daily Press.

The hole opened up about 8 a.m. Monday morning, Tony Raymond, owner of Raymond's Garage (search), told the newspaper.

"I saw it happening and I just yelled to everybody to get out," Raymond said.

Raymond's Garage is on land lying over an old mine that ceased operation in the 1940s, the paper said. As the ground collapsed, the resulting pressure caused water in the mineshaft below to spurt upwards.

"The pressure lifted a cement shaft cap, causing tidal waves which submerged the streets with 1½ feet of water," said Fire Chief Lester Cudmore.

"There are more than 10 pieces of equipment at the bottom of the sinkhole right now," he added, "including a 40-foot trailer, two wreckers, two trucks and two half-tons."

All the vehicles, which were owned by Raymond's Garage, were pulled out by 7 p.m. Monday.

An earlier cave-in took place in 1963, during which three buses plunged into the ground.

"In my understanding they are still there," said Fire Chief Lester Cudmore.

No one was hurt, but both Raymond's Garage and an overhead-door business next door have been evicted from their current locations because of safety concerns.

Timmins, a city of about 45,000 about 100 miles north of Lake Huron, is best-known for being the hometown of country singer Shania Twain (search).

Campaigning Cross-Dresser Crossed Out by Voters

HOUSTON (AP) — A candidate who stuck to his campaign despite photos showing him wearing dresses has lost his bid for office in Texas runoff elections that also picked GOP candidates for five congressional elections.

Sam Walls, 64, who sought a seat in the Texas House, had said he would not give in to "blackmail" from whoever circulated the photos, saying they tried to use "very old, personal information" to force him out of the race.

Walls, a businessman, had seemed the favorite over real estate broker Rob Orr, but GOP leaders urged him to withdraw after the pictures surfaced, and on Tuesday Orr won with 4,630 votes, or 60 percent, to Walls' 3,031.

"Some people have said they feel sorry for me, but let me tell you how wonderful it has been for me," Walls said after his loss. "If you have not had the opportunity to find out that all your friends are true friends, then I feel sorry for you."

He has said his family had "dealt with" the dress issue, and he apologized to supporters for any embarrassment caused by "a small part of my personal past."

Thirty-Foot Wiener to Be Displayed in Public

ALLIANCE, Ohio (AP) — An entrepreneur has won his wiener war with city hall.

A judge granted Walton "Wally" Armour permission to erect a 30-foot replica of a hot dog atop his new restaurant.

City officials had tried to halt the plans, saying it would lead to more and could make the city look like the Las Vegas strip.

The Alliance Board of Zoning Appeals granted Armour a variance allowing him to skirt an ordinance against rooftop advertising. Law Director Andrew Zumbar argued that the ordinance shouldn't be bypassed, but the judge said the city could not challenge its appeals board.

Zumbar said it would be up to the city council whether to appeal Sinclair's ruling.

State Senator Whistles at Work

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — A frequent whistler, Sen. Mary Lundby's (search) renditions of show tunes, movie themes and pop favorites can often be heard echoing in the marble-walled Iowa Senate chamber.

It's a habit that has endeared the veteran Republican lawmaker to some colleagues — she's been dubbed the Senate's Whistling Laureate — as much as it's thoroughly annoyed others.

"When she gets stuck on the same show tune for two or three days in a row, it's like scratching fingernails across a chalkboard," Democratic Sen. Bill Dotzler (search) said with a laugh. "Sure, it probably relaxes her, but it's having the opposite effect on me."

As a recent session dragged into the evening, Lundby whistled the "Marines' Hymn" and was soon joined by several colleagues, including Republican Senate Majority Leader Stewart Iverson (search).

"I kind of get a chuckle out of it. It's kind of an uplifting, lightening up of the mood every once and awhile," said Iverson, a former Marine.

Lundby, who has been in the Senate for 10 years and was a House representative for eight, takes requests but mostly repeats whatever song she last heard on the radio.

She said she learned to whistle as a child, walking the roads of her hometown of Carroll because her mother didn't drive, and whistles while she works on a bill or amendment to clear her mind.

Even Dotzler said he couldn't resist smiling on one recent occasion as Lundby whistled "If I Only Had a Brain" from "The Wizard of Oz."

Dead Man Wins Vote

JAKARTA, Indonesia (AP) — A candidate in last week's legislative elections in Indonesia won nearly 800 votes despite having died three months ago, poll officials said.

"It's a bit ridiculous," said Andi Mappinawang, an election committee member in south Sulawesi province where the mix-up occurred. "Maybe the voters didn't know that he had died."

Mirdin Kasim died in February, shortly after the deadline for printing ballot papers had passed, Mappinawang said Tuesday. It was impossible to inform all the people in the region of his death, he said.

Kasim was one of 33 candidates contesting the south Sulawesi seat on April 5 in the regional representatives council, a newly created body that will sit in Jakarta.

Loud Pounding Leads to Safecrackers' Arrest

FAIRFIELD, Iowa (AP) — A report of a pounding noise from a field in the middle of the night led police to two men trying to crack open a safe stolen from the Fairfield Elks Lodge, authorities said.

Neal Ehrhardt Connelly, 20, and Martin Michael Box, 21, were arrested on felony burglary charges. Police said they found the pair with a hammer, a pry bar and a flashlight.

Someone called police saying they heard pounding in an open field near a preschool.

"Had the person who heard the noise not called us, they probably would have gotten away with it," said police Lt. Julie Harvey.

Police recovered several thousand dollars.

Compiled by's Paul Wagenseil.

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