Out There: Man-Made Hurricanes?

Global warming? Act of God? Nope, says one Idaho weatherman — Hurricane Katrina was part of a man-made plot against America.

Scott Stevens, a meteorologist who for nine years has been forecasting the weather on KPVI-TV (search) in Pocatello, says the Yakuza — the Japanese mafia — is using a Russian-made electromagnetic generator to launch terrific storms against the U.S. mainland.

The devastation of New Orleans was in revenge for the U.S. atomic bombing of Hiroshima, Stevens explains on his Web site. He says it will soon be used again against another major American city.

"A battle in the skies is waged daily. Some battles are won and others lost. We yet know not which," Stevens writes on the front page of his site. "For years this massive global project has been under way, but only now is it making it to the forefront of the consciousness of those with curious minds."

Rumors have long circulated of a secret Soviet weather weapon, but Stevens told the Idaho Falls Post Register he became convinced it existed after noticing strange patterns in a Montana cold front in 2004.

"I just got sick to my stomach because these clouds were unnatural and that meant they had [the machine] on all the time," Stevens told the newspaper. "I was left trying to forecast the intent of some organization, rather than the weather of this planet."

Nor is it a coincidence that both Katrina and Ivan — the huge hurricane that hit Florida a year ago — are Russian names, Stevens says.

At least one other scientist, however, thinks it's all a bunch of hooey.

"I have been doing hurricane research for the better part of 20 years now, and there was nothing unusual to me about any of the satellite imagery of Katrina," Robert S. Young, an associate professor of geology at Western Carolina University (search) in Cullowhee, N.C., told the newspaper. "It's laughable to think it could have been man-made."

Other hurricane experts explain that the spate of severe North Atlantic storms in recent years is part of a natural 25- to 30-year cycle. There was a wave of damaging hurricanes between 1935 and 1965, then a lull before the number of bad storms increased again around 1995.

The U.S. government has apparently tried to influence hurricanes, but its Project Stormfury, which from 1962 to 1983 sought to weaken cyclones by seeding the storms' eyewalls with silver iodide, was a failure.

Stevens is unperturbed by those who scoff at his findings.

"I fully expect one more 'event' this year to impact the United States," he writes. "My gut feeling is that it will be an earthquake/volcanic event with intensity of at least 7.5 in magnitude resulting in insured losses to exceed $25 billion."

His bosses at KPVI-TV don't mind his views, as long as he keeps them off the air.

"He doesn't talk about it on his weathercast," General Manager Bill Fouch told the newspaper. "He's very knowledgeable about weather, and he's very popular."

— Thanks to Out There reader Kevin M.

Beaver Thief Ordered to Guard Rodent Statues

XENIA, Ohio (AP) — A man convicted of stealing a 250-pound beaver statue from the city of Beavercreek (search) was ordered to guard the 25 statues that are part of that community's 25th anniversary celebration.

Greene County Common Pleas Judge Stephen Wolaver also sentenced Michael Ledford, 18, of Beavercreek, on Monday to five years' probation and ordered him to pay part of the cost a city committee paid to put tracking devices on the beaver statues.

Ledford, who earlier this month pleaded no contest to a theft charge, will guard the statues on weekends until they are auctioned Oct. 15. He will be given a chair while on duty, but police will monitor him, officials said.

At least nine of the toothy fiberglass beaver statues have been vandalized, stolen at some point or moved since being installed in July on the streets of Beavercreek, a city of 40,000 just east of Dayton.

Proceeds from the auction will be used for improvements at a senior citizens center, a community theater and a teen center.

— Thanks to Out There reader Kate W.

Kansas Dance-Off Becomes Violent Brawl

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — One person required stitches and a mother and son were arrested after a brawl broke out during an impromptu "dance off," Wichita police said.

"This is a whole new arena" of crime, said Wichita police Lt. Jeff Easter.

The Dynamic Steppers (search), a Wichita drill team, were practicing routines Saturday night when members of another drill team called the White Tigers (search) showed up and challenged the others to a "dance-off," police said.

When the challengers appeared to be losing, a woman struck a 17-year-old Dynamic Steppers drummer in the face with a drumstick, Easter said.

The teen, who had left the White Tigers to join the Dynamic Steppers, punched the 28-year-old woman in the face. He then ran toward his Ford Explorer and tried to run over spectators, witnesses told police.

The boy's mother, who is a Dynamic Steppers coach, grabbed a box cutter and sliced the other woman's right arm, Easter said. The wound required eight stitches.

An estimated 50 people became involved in the altercation, although only two were facing charges on Monday.

The mother was booked on suspicion of aggravated battery for cutting the other woman, Easter said, and the son faced charges of simple assault and aggravated assault. Police said more charges are possible.

IRS Payments End Up In the Drink

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Some 30,000 taxpayers in 13 states better be prepared to open their checkbooks again.

Payments they made last week are now most likely at the bottom of San Francisco Bay.

The checks were lost early on the morning of Sept. 11, when the truck that was transporting them to an IRS lockbox got into an accident on the San Mateo Bridge (search). Thousands of pieces of mail were blown all around, including into the bay.

The lost IRS checks were largely from people who pre-pay their annual income tax by paying an estimated amount quarterly to avoid a penalty on April 15.

Terry Lemons, an IRS spokesman, said the agency will happily waive penalties and interest for anyone whose payment was lost. It has asked people who sent mail to the San Francisco facility during the first 10 days of the September to sit tight and see if their checks clear.

"We are asking people's patience during this period," Lemons said. "The key thing we are going to do is work to make it as easy as possible for taxpayers."

Culprit Nabbed; Source of Underwear Undetermined

WAUSAU, Wis. (AP) — A man upset at a parks employee for blowing grass clippings on him has been airing his complaint — by hanging panties and bras on department vehicles, police said.

The 57-year-old man had been hanging all sizes of women's underwear from mirrors on vehicles at the Wausau and Marathon County Parks, Recreation and Forestry Departments, police said.

Parks Director Bill Duncanson and police said Tuesday that the clothing had been placed on multiple vehicles 30 to 50 times over a series of months — usually one vehicle a night, several times a week.

Duncanson said the incidents started in April or early May and continued until about three weeks ago. He told police he was concerned because it looked unprofessional.

The parks department caught the man on videotape placing underwear on the mirror of a vehicle, Deputy Chief Jeff Hardel said. He was not identified.

A police report said the man acknowledged he had done it, saying he was upset with the parks department because an employee cutting grass at Big Bull Falls Park would blow grass onto him while he sat in a gazebo.

'Clinton' and 'Lewinsky' Condoms Sold in China

BEIJING (AP) — A company in China has begun marketing condoms under the brand names Clinton and Lewinsky.

Spokesman Liu Wenhua, of the Guangzhou Rubber Group, said the company was handing out 100,000 free Clinton and Lewinsky condoms as part of a promotion to raise consumer awareness of its new products.

Liu said the company had chosen to use the Clinton name because consumers viewed the 42nd president as a responsible person, who would want to stress safe sex as an effective way to prevent the spread of the HIV virus.

"The names we chose are symbols of people who are responsible and dedicated to their jobs," he said. "I believe Bill Clinton cannot be unhappy about this because he's a very generous man."

Clinton has campaigned aggressively for heightened AIDS awareness in China, where the disease is spreading rapidly. He was accused of, and later admitted, having a sexual relationship with Monica Lewinsky, a former White House intern.

Compiled by FOXNews.com's Paul Wagenseil.

Got a good "Out There" story in your hometown? We'd like to know about it. Send an e-mail, with a Web link (we need to authenticate these things), to outthere@foxnews.com.