Barbecue Thwarted by 'Hot' Stuff

Talk about spicy barbecue.

Over Memorial Day weekend, Charles Wesley of Bethlehem, Pa. was preparing to grill up some savory lobster and steak for a wedding anniversary cookout in his yard.

Just before he began, Wesley pulled up a few weeds that happened to be growing next to his some bushes on his property — but also got an unexpected surprise.

Along with the unwanted plants, Wesley found a yellow and black box about the size of a car battery with the word "nuclear" on the side.

"That's all I needed to see is the words 'radioactive' and 'nuclear,'" Wesley said. "Something like that, you can't just throw it in your trash can."

He called authorities and within minutes police had cordoned off the block, evacuated his neighbors and effectively put the kibosh on the barbecue.

Police determined the box was a nuclear compaction device used in construction. Wesley's neighbor had reported the box stolen from his truck.

Bethlehem Assistant Fire Chief David Rufe said the thief likely threw the box into the bushes. He said it had the same level of radiation as two household smoke detectors.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Albino Alligator Blushes With Excitement

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — An albino alligator became so excited when he got to Iowa, he turned pink.

That's according to officials at Blank Park Zoo, who got the 8-foot-long reptile on Thursday for an exhibit of albino animals.

"Albino alligators turn pink with excitement as they adjust to their new environment," said David Allen, the zoo's director. "We think it'll settle down by the beginning of the week after a little Iowa relaxation."

When zoo officials first got the animal from Florida, they planned to keep it under wraps until its regular complexion returned.

Then, someone realized the marketing potential. Hundreds of schoolchildren packed the zoo Friday to get a peek at "Pinkie," as the zoo's chief executive dubbed the creature.

Zoo officials said most of Pinkie's blush had faded by late Friday, but his face maintained a pink glow. They think that will remain through the weekend.

The display will also include an albino python, catfish, salamander, and a white camel.

Sign Snafu Nearly Stops Drivers

A badly-placed bolt has drivers in one New Jersey town hitting the breaks.

A new sign, which lists the speed limit as 15 mph was bolted to it's post right between the numbers 1 and 5, so it appears the speed limit is 1.5 mph, The Tri-Town News reported.

One local resident, Barbara Dixel, said she saw one driver jam on his brakes as soon as he turned onto Dag Hammarskjold Boulevard in Howell, New Jersey.

Dixel said she watched as the car make its way down the road at a pace that was barely perceptible. The driver was apparently attempting to abide the sign's directive to go less than 2 mph.

Other residents in the community have witnessed the same thing.

The sign, which was put up to replace a 25 mph speed limit sign, was meant to make cars to slow down in The Villages, a private community within Howell.

Activist Swipes Butts Right Out of Smoker's Mouths

HONG KONG (AP) — A Chinese anti-smoking activist has brought his unorthodox methods to Hong Kong, snatching cigarettes from unsuspecting locals in an office district, a newspaper reported Sunday.

Zhang Yue spent Saturday spreading the word on the ills of smoking in the Wan Chai district, Ming Pao Daily News reported Sunday. The paper ran a picture of Zhang snatching a cigarette from the mouth of an elderly man.

The 44-year-old native of Luoyang in central Henan province was inspired to activism by the death of his 26-year-old sister from brain cancer, an illness he suspects was caused by inhaling their father's smoke, Ming Pao reported.

The report said he has visited 69 mainland cities in the past three years, snatching cigarettes from smokers, and his travels have left him in heavy debt. It said he borrowed 500 Chinese yuan (US$60) to finance his Hong Kong trip.

More than one-eighth of Hong Kong's 6.8 million people are smokers.

Flexible Toes Help Save Woman's Life

WILKINSBURG, Pa. (AP) —The manager of a check-cashing store was bound and gagged by an armed robber but managed to free one of her legs and dial 911 — using her toe.

The woman, whom police did not identify, was unlocking the doors to an ACE America's Cash Express office in suburban Pittsburgh on Monday morning when a man put a gun in her armpit and forced her into the store, Wilkinsburg police Lt. Todd Ruggiero said.

The man ordered her to open the safe and then led her to a back office, where he tied her up with phone cords and other items and gagged her with a scarf, Ruggiero said.

About an hour after the robbery, the woman managed to free one leg, somehow grabbed a telephone with her feet and used her toe to dial 911, police said.

She was freed after firefighters and paramedics got through a locked security door.

Escaped Zebra Heads for Ladies' Room

TOKYO (AP) — A zebra kicked its way out of a truck at a highway rest stop on Tuesday, leading the driver into the women's washroom in pursuit.

The eight-year-old zebra kicked down a wooden gate on the truck after the driver, who was transporting her to a zoo in Kumamoto city, parked to rest just after midnight, Kumamoto state police spokeswoman Yuri Fujii said.

The 440-pound, 6.5-foot tall animal was on the loose for about five hours before zoo officials were able to tranquilize it, and transport her unharmed to Kumamoto City Zoological and Botanical Gardens, Fujii said.

The incident happened near Kumamoto city, about 900 570 miles southwest of Tokyo.

TV-Watching Gorillas Favor Cartoons

DALLAS (AP) — Like any 14-year-old, Patrick has varying tastes in television shows.

While he likes cartoons and public television, he's bored with sports. But National Geographic specials fascinate him.

"We tried to put on sports, even though we were concerned it might generate aggressive behavior, but he really wasn't interested," said Cindy McCaleb, one of his keepers.

Patrick is among five western lowland gorillas who have been moved to the Dallas Zoo's indoor holding area since a March 18 escape and attack by another gorilla.

During the attack, a 13-year-old western lowland gorilla escaped from an outdoor exhibit and injured three people before police killed him.

Patrick and the other gorillas have shown some signs of stress since being kept away from the public. Zoo officials have come up with some creative ways, including television, to keep the gorillas entertained.

The gorillas are fond of Disney cartoons, with "The Little Mermaid," "The Lion King" and "Beauty and the Beast" ranking high on their list of favorites.

"They don't follow the story, of course," McCaleb said in Sunday's editions of The Dallas Morning News. "They like the music, the color and the movement."

There also seems to be differences in the viewing habits of the gorillas depending on their age.

Patrick watches more television than some of the older gorillas who don't pay much attention to TV shows, McCaleb said.

The gorillas also have other activities and games.

Zoo officials hide food in large Coca-Cola syrup barrels and put sandwiches in mesh cages that they have to figure out how to open.

Employees also put up posters of nature scenes, and most recently a Georgia O'Keeffe painting. They also play the radio.

"I tend to go classical," McCaleb said. "It tends to mellow them out."

Only the keepers are allowed to have contact with the gorillas when they're inside the 8,000-square-foot holding area.

The apes will be held in the area until a study is completed on whether the outdoor exhibit is safe. The study was expected in mid-May, but zoo officials don't know when it will be done, said zoo spokeswoman Ellen Villeneuve.

Compiled by's Marla Lehner.

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