A collection of odd news reported by GateHouse newspapers this week.
It’s the great pumpkin, Charlie Brown Bristol, R.I. -- It’s bigger than some backyard gardens, a little intimidating at first, and definitely way too much pumpkin for pie. “Meet Claire,” said Mike Oliver, showing off his pride and joy: a giant pumpkin weighing about 1,300 pounds that he plans to enter in the Southern New England Giant Pumpkin Championship on Saturday at Frerich’s Farm in Warren, R.I. This darling vegetable costs Oliver some 40 to 50 hours of labor each week, but the full-time mortgage broker doesn’t mind a bit. His wife? Well, maybe a little. “I’m a pumpkin widow. That’s his mistress,” said Valerie Oliver. Claire has stretched her vines over the length of the patch this growing season and is now laying on her side waiting to be detached from her stem and hauled off to the fair. “I’ve got a guy coming in with a (crane),” Oliver said. “It holds up to 2,000 pounds.” Duck! Duck! A goose! Victor, N.Y. -- A Victor woman is a little beaten up but has quite a story to tell after a collision with a full-grown goose on a roller coaster at Darien Lake Theme Park Resort left her with a concussion. Amanda Henry, 21, was leading a teens’ field trip to the park under the auspices of Victor Parks and Recreation on Sept. 21 when a student asked her to ride the Superman Ride of Steel. The park’s giant roller coaster features speeds of up to 70 miles per hour. Henry agreed to go, even though she said the ride is a little “cheesy” and doesn’t go upside down. “Everything was fine until we came up on the circle,” said Henry. It was then, as the coaster went around a horizontal loop, that a small flock of geese from the pond underneath the loop started flying toward Henry and the woman in front of her. “We plowed right through them,” she said. “There was no reaction time.” Soon, Henry was headed face-first into a “brown blob,” which she later found out to be a goose, which hit the left side of her face. The last seconds of the ride are a blur to Henry, who said she was crying hysterically as the ride came to a stop. Henry said she was told she may have a fracture behind her left ear but is otherwise OK. Pot found in girl’s toys Framingham, Mass. -- When detectives searched a suspect's Normandy Road apartment Friday, they found marijuana hidden in a little girl's play desk, toy chest and Cinderella costume, police said. Brian J. Ford, 22, and Nicholas Amendola, 19, were arrested at 10:06 p.m. after the drug raid at 17 Normandy Road, police spokesman Lt. Paul Shastany said. Tammy McCardle, 29, will be summoned to court on several charges. In all, police found more than 2.5 pounds of marijuana hidden at Ford and McCardle's apartment, Shastany said. ``They were secreting this stuff within the child's playthings,'' said Shastany. ``They found several baggies (of marijuana) in the sleeve of a pink Cinderella costume. They found some in a child's play desk and some in a toy box.'' Cocaine found in boy’s diaper OTTAWA, ILL. -- Police said they arrested an Ottawa man after finding 87 grams of cocaine in a diaper for his baby son during a routine traffic stop. A van driven by Cesar Hernandez, 30, of Ottawa was stopped at 2:48 p.m. Thursday in the 1600 block of Chaplain Street. Officers saw Hernandez stuff something under the front seat. The object turned out to be a clean diaper that contained the cocaine, police said. Hernandez is charged with unlawful possession of a controlled substance with the intent to deliver. Also charged with the Class X felony was one of Hernandez’s passengers, Ubaldo Chaidez, 30, Ottawa. Brazen theft, part I OSAGE BEACH, Mo. -- Authorities are looking for a white van and a male suspect who walked out of a local gun store with three semi-automatic pistols. The suspect was captured on a video surveillance camera as he walked through the store checking out merchandise, and again later as he made his getaway in a van that was apparently parked outside waiting for him. A white male identified in the photos entered a local gun shop and stole three firearms, a Beretta .25-caliber semi-automatic pistol, a Kel Tec .32-caliber semi-automatic pistol, and a Kel Tec 9 mm semi-automatic pistol. The suspect apparently waited until the employees were waiting on other customers, busted a lock on a cabinet and grabbed the three guns. Brazen theft, part II OSAGE BEACH, Mo. -- The federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives is offering a $5,000 reward to generate information that leads to the apprehension and arrest of the person or people responsible for the theft of an assault weapon from a Missouri Water Patrol vehicle earlier this week. The weapon, a .223 rifle used by the members of the Water Patrol’s tactical team, was stolen Tuesday evening from a locked vehicle parked on Bandana’s parking lot on Highway 54 in Osage Beach. Thieves gained entry to the vehicle by breaking the back window. The weapon was stolen while the officer was inside with other members of the tactical response team who had spent the day training together. GateHouse News Service