Manure Stinks Up Entire Town

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Something's rotten in the state of Iowa.

Locals in the town of Zearing went to city hall on Monday, fed up with what they say is an awful stench coming from a company that washes livestock trucks.

"If I wanted to smell that smell, I'd live on a farm," said resident Joe Blessing.

Blessing, who lives three blocks from the Reed Trucking Company's (search) new facility, said he'd thrown up in his home on Friday, according to the Tribune of Ames, Iowa.

Mary Jo Henze said the reek hasn't gotten to her own house yet, but it's just a matter of time.

"The smell is so bad in my friend's home," she said, "when you open the door it knocks you in the face."

Last fall, Reed Trucking got a permit to dump refuse from the new building, in which up to six trucks a day are washed, into the municipal sewer system. Things were fine over the winter, but come warm weather, Zearing got pretty stinky.

"We're all thinking this is just a little fishy," said Blessing, noting that company owner Rich Reed is the son of Zearing's mayor.

Dale Fisher, vice president of a Des Moines water-treatment company, explained that Reed Trucking needs to filter out the solids — in other words, manure — before the waste water goes into the sewer system.

Reed said he's installing drains with smaller holes that will catch more solid waste.

In any case, things could always be worse.

High exposure to toxic hydrogen sulfide (search), a by-product of manure decomposition, would deaden human noses, said waste-water expert Dennis White. Since the people of Zearing can still smell the stink, they're safe for now.

Samurai Stick-Up Man

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) — A robber swinging a samurai sword sent condiments flying before fleeing with $32 taken from the frightened lunchtime crowd.

Patrons of the Mudville Grille (search) said the man burst into the restaurant about 11:30 a.m. Monday, waving a sword and yelling he was holding up the place.

Witnesses said the man whipped the sword across two tables, clearing the tabletops before slamming his hand on the counter.

Several patrons emptied their pockets and the man grabbed the cash and fled in a green minivan. It was later found abandoned with the sword inside.

Police said the van and sword were taken in a 2 a.m. robbery. Police said a man broke into a house, took the sword from the top of a television, and threatened the residents into giving him keys to the van and $85.

Police have identified a suspect in that robbery, but he has not been arrested.

Telemarketing Calls a Long, Long Way From Home

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — Several residents of Lincoln, Calif., received phone calls last week asking for their support for a Wal-Mart in northeast Lincoln.

The only problem was that the call concerned a proposed Wal-Mart that was nowhere near California. It's in Lincoln, Neb.

Residents were asked to support the Wal-Mart by contacting the Lincoln-Lancaster County Planning Department (search).

Many Californians did — to complain about the calls.

A telemarketing company rented call machines that were used recently to promote the Wal-Mart in Nebraska, Wal-Mart spokesman Ryan Horn said.

The Wal-Mart message was not erased from one of the machines and wound up being heard by the Californians in place of the telemarketer's message.

Squawk Box Bothers San Franciscans

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — The new M.H. de Young Memorial Museum's (search) strategy to rid itself of a messy pigeon problem is creating a nuisance for some of its neighbors.

Four months ago, the art museum in Golden Gate Park (search) started blasting recordings of a hawk's distress call to roust hundreds of roosting pigeons that have damaged the museum's copper-covered walls with their droppings. The museum needs a full cleaning before it opens in October, officials said.

Some neighbors complained the hawk's squawks can be heard from a quarter-mile away.

"The public is not happy with all that squalling," said Chris Duderstadt of the Golden Gate Park Alliance.

Museum spokeswoman Wendy Norris said the recording is only audible around the museum's perimeter and she said it was an effective alternative to spikes or nets that can harm pigeons.

But some bird experts questioned the museum's strategy, saying pigeons may not be scared off because they are not typical prey for hawks, said Jack Wagner, president of a company called Bird Busters.

"The chance of it working is less than remote," he said.

Smile! You're on Someone Else's Phone

ATHENS, Greece (AP) — An Athens mobile phone dealer has been arrested for allegedly selling thousands of amateur sex videos he had downloaded from cellular phones brought to his shop for repairs, police said Tuesday.

The arrest followed a sting operation on Monday in which the suspect — only identified as a 44-year-old Greek — allegedly transferred 183 pornographic videos to the cellular phones of undercover electronic crime squad officers for a total fee of 15 euro ($18.41), police said in an announcement.

The footage had all been recorded by the dealer's clients for private use on their mobile phones, and stored in the devices. The files were allegedly transferred to the cellular phones of the arresting police officers via Bluetooth wireless connections.

Thousands of such sex videos were also found stored on computer hard drives seized in the shop. The suspect faces charges of distributing indecent material and breach of privacy, the police announcement said.

Compiled by's Paul Wagenseil.

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