Small Town Gets Own Time Zone

A small Canadian town moved into its own time zone for a few days last week.

Clocks gained 10 minutes a day in Blind River, Ontario (search), reports The Sault Star of Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario.

"It first happened to us Monday morning," said resident Perry Boyer. "My daughter walked to her bus stop at the usual time of 8:10 a.m. and when she got there she thought she had missed the bus."

It turned out the girl was just early, and when she got home after school, she noticed several clocks in the house were all 10 minutes ahead.

"So we moved the clock back 10 minutes," Boyer told the newspaper. "But on Tuesday morning the same thing happened."

Residents of the town of 4,000 on the northern shore of Lake Huron compared notes, and by Wednesday noticed that many electric clocks, stove clocks and clock radios were affected, but no VCRs, computers or TV clocks.

Hydro One (search), the local electricity provider, at first couldn't explain it.

"It isn't a problem we've encountered in the past," said company spokesman Daffyd Roderick. "Something affecting only clocks is highly unlikely to be hydro."

Most electricity in Canada is generated by hydroelectric dams.

The mystery was solved when it turned out that, in order to do some maintenance work, Hydro One engineers had taken Blind River off the Ontario power grid for a few days.

The whole town had been plugged directly into a local generator that pumps out electricity at a slightly higher frequency than the 60 hertz most North Americans are used to.

Hence, simple electric clocks, which use electrical frequency to measure time, ran fast. Computers, VCRs and modern TVs use more sophisticated methods and weren't affected.

"The higher frequency won't damage any equipment or appliances," assured Hydro One's Rob Globocki.

Blind River went back onto the Ontario electrical grid, and back into Eastern Daylight Time, late Thursday afternoon.

Dude, Where's My Car?

BEAVERTON, Ore. (AP) — Police say Knute Falk remembered to bring a loaded gun, a bag to cart off his cash and a bandanna to cover his face when he went to rob a Bank of America (search) in Beaverton.

He got away with $188,655, a good haul for a day's work for a bank robber, police said.

But then he'd forgotten a crucial piece of any heist — a getaway car, parked in close proximity. His own car was several blocks away, reports said.

So Falk, 54, demanded car keys from Steven Sturtevant, a bank customer.

"When he took the keys, he said, 'I will leave them under the front seat,'" a puzzled Sturtevant told The Oregonian newspaper. "He was very polite."

Only problem was, Falk couldn't figure out which key opened up Sturtevant's car, according to reports. So he took off the mask, and went back into the bank to inquire, Sturtevant said.

Big mistake.

After he finally got the car open, Falk took off, passing Beaverton police Officer Sean Todd along the way. Todd received signals from the tracking device planted in the stolen loot, and tracked Falk down within minutes.

Falk confessed during a subsequent interview with Beaverton Detective Dennis Marley, according to an account filed in federal court.

He has been indicted by a federal grand jury on armed bank robbery and is in a Multnomah County detention facility.

It was his first robbery, he told Marley.

He was out of cash, he said, and he wanted to "rob a bank to get some."

Man Pulls Over Cop; Entire Family Thrown in Jail

McMINNVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — A motorist's decision to stop a deputy for speeding escalated into a series of incidents than ended with his entire family joining him in jail.

Last week, Lance E. Champion, 23, reportedly pulled in behind Deputy Lt. Stan Hillis across from the local jail and told Hillis he had violated the speed limit. By the end of their conversation, Champion was in custody charged with disorderly conduct, resisting arrest and evading arrest.

Champion called his mother, Janice K. Champion, 48, who arrived with her 17-year-old son. The teen allegedly slapped the hand of a deputy who was gesturing for them to leave the area as Lance Champion's vehicle was about to be towed.

"If you strike an officer, you're going to jail 100 percent of the time," said Sheriff Jackie Matheny.

Mrs. Champion was then taken into custody, charged with disorderly conduct and resisting arrest. Officers say she was loud and refused to obey orders.

Her husband Hal Champion, 47, then arrived from church, was shot with a deputy's Taser and taken into custody on similar charges.

All were later freed on bond.

"This is a fine upstanding family," said the Champions' attorney Michael Galligan. "These deputies acted in a harmful and inappropriate manner. We feel their actions violated the law."

Matheny is backing his men: "They have over 40 years of combined experience and excellent work records. They were as surprised by the Champions' conduct as anyone."

Elephants Play Prisoners in Exhibition Soccer Match

AYUTHAYA, Thailand (AP) — Here come the elephants. Thai officials organized a soccer game between elephants and prisoners Sunday in hopes of discouraging gambling on the European Championships.

"We expect that people will support the idea that we can get fun from playing football, not gambling on football," said Nathee Chitsawang, director-general of the Thai Corrections Department.

Thai authorities have cracked down on soccer gambling in prisons and elsewhere since Euro 2004 (search) began this month in Portugal. Corrections officials have blocked viewing of the tournament in some prisons and have relocated inmates suspected of bookmaking.

Sunday's game was a reward for some inmates from the Ayuthaya prison, which houses about 1,500 men. More than 200 spectators watched the prisoners take to the muddy field with the elephants ridden by drivers from the nearby Ayuthaya Elephant Palace and Royal Kraal.

The prisoners cut through a forest of elephant legs to score the first goal. But without clear rules against "trunkball," the elephants, guided by their riders, moved the oversized ball easily. The game ended in a 5-5 tie.

The Elephant Palace is home to more than 100 elephants, some of which perform for tourists and in films.

"We train the elephants every day to play soccer, kick the ball, and to keep from stepping on the other people," said Pattarapon Meepan, 19, whose father owns the Elephant Palace.

"They are not the best players because they are quite slow," he said. "But they try their best. These elephants can do everything."

Close Your Windows, Shut Your Eyes, There's Nothing Wrong

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — A Northwest Airlines flight that was headed to Rapid City, S.D., landed a few miles off course at Ellsworth Air Force Base (search), and passengers had to wait in the plane for more than three hours while their crew was interrogated.

Passengers on Northwest Flight 1152, an Airbus A-319 from St. Paul, expected to be welcomed to Rapid City Regional Airport on Saturday, but after about five minutes they were told to close their window shades and not look out, said passenger Robert Morrell.

"He [the pilot] hemmed and he hawed and he said 'We have landed at an Air Force base a few miles from the Rapid City airport and now we are going to figure out how we're going to get from here to there,'" Morrell told the St. Paul Pioneer Press by cell phone during the delay Saturday.

Eventually, the captain and first officer were replaced by a different Northwest crew for the short hop to the right airport.

Northwest confirmed that the crew made an "unscheduled landing."

"The situation is under review and we have nothing further to add," said Northwest spokesman Kurt Ebenhoch. He would not identify the cockpit crew or say if the pilot made an error.

Ellsworth controls all air space 40 miles around the base and clears landings at both the civilian airport and the base.

The city's airport runway is "just over the hill" from Ellsworth, and the Northwest crew had to descend through a layer of clouds, said a base spokeswoman, Lt. Christine Millette.

The Federal Aviation Administration is investigating.

Delicious Treat Ends Up Landing Woman in Jail

MIAMI (AP) — A teacher's aide who forgot to put away her marshmallows and hot chocolate at Yellowstone National Park last year was taken from her cruise ship cabin in handcuffs and hauled before a judge Friday, accused of failing to pay the year-old fine.

Hope Clarke, 32, crying and in leg shackles, told the judge she was rousted at 6:30 a.m. by federal agents after the ship returned to Miami from Mexico. She insisted that she had been required to pay the $50 fine before she could leave Yellowstone, which has strict rules about food storage to prevent wildlife from eating human food.

Customs agents meet all cruise ships arriving from foreign ports and run random checks of passenger lists, and a warrant claiming Clarke had not paid the fine was found in the federal law enforcement database.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Peter Outerbridge conceded there were some "discrepancies," but suggested to the judge that Clarke appear in court again to clear up the warrant.

U.S. Magistrate Judge John O'Sullivan, who had a copy of a citation indicating the fine had been paid, apologized to Clarke, who spent nearly nine hours in detention, and demanded that the U.S. attorney's office determine what went wrong.

Zach Mann, spokesman for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, called the arrest "an unfortunate set of circumstances." He added, "We were acting on what we believed was accurate information."

Compiled by's Paul Wagenseil.

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