Watercooler Stories – April 17, 2012 – UPI.com

Storm chasers get in the way of responders

ABILENE, Kan., April 17 (UPI) — Emergency officials in Kansas said storm chasers have been creating safety hazards while on the lookout for tornadoes in the north-central part of the state.

Chancy Smith, director of Dickinson County Emergency Management, said a huge convoy of storm chasers arrived in the area Saturday, when weather forecasters predicted a high probability of tornado activity, and got in the way of emergency vehicles, The Kansas City (Mo.) Star reported Monday.

“It was like a funeral procession, bumper to bumper,” Smith said of the storm chasers. “It was horrible.”

He said many drivers in the convoy of about 350 vehicles, many of which bore license tags from out of the state, created safety hazards by refusing to yield to emergency vehicles.

“We were going on Solomon Road with lights and sirens, and they wouldn’t get over,” he said. “Some were driving 60 or 70 mph, looking for videos or photos, and they didn’t even notice us.”

“I think they just know we don’t have time to deal with them,” he said. “We couldn’t have a response Saturday with that many of them on the road. It was just crazy.”

Boy, 3, left at roadside by car thief

COLORADO SPRINGS, April 17 (UPI) — Police in Colorado said a 3-year-old boy — in his father’s car when it was stolen and left at the roadside by the thief — knocked on a woman’s door.

Colorado Springs Police said the thief jumped into Anthony Pettiford’s car when the father went inside the Hancock Street 7-Eleven store early Sunday and drove off with the young boy in the back seat, The Colorado Springs Gazette reported Monday.

Police said the thief left the boy at the side of a road about four blocks away with a plastic bag containing some soy milk, a sippy cup, two diapers, wipes and pajama bottoms.

Officers said the boy then carried the bag through the snow and up 14 stairs to knock on Traci Gilbert’s second-story door.

“Help me, I’m cold,” Gilbert quoted the boy as saying when she opened the door.

“He wasn’t crying. He never shed a single tear the whole time,” Gilbert said.

Gilbert’s son took the boy to find his home and they were able to flag down a police officer who reunited the toddler with his father.

Police said they are searching for the thief and the stolen 1995 white Chrysler New Yorker.

Turkey pulls Hitler shampoo commercial

ISTANBUL, Turkey, April 17 (UPI) — Turkish officials said they have put a three-month suspension on a controversial TV ad using images of Adolf Hitler to sell shampoo.

The Turkish Industry Ministry’s advertising commission decided last week to suspend the advertisement by shampoo brand Biomen due to concerns about gender discrimination and racist sentiments in the commercial, Today’s Zaman reported Monday.

The commercial features footage of Hitler delivering a speech with subtitles giving a made-up translation to sell the “100 percent male shampoo.”

“If you are not wearing a woman’s dress, you should not use her shampoo, either,” the subtitles read.

Hawks block utility work in California

OAKLAND, Calif., April 17 (UPI) — Work on a California transmission line upgrade to connect a solar energy development to the power grid is being blocked by nesting hawks, officials said.

A spokesman for BrightSource Energy Co. in Oakland, Calif., said the presence of at least five pairs of red-tailed hawks nesting in the path of the line upgrade could delay the work for months, but power is still planned to be delivered early next year from the 5.6-square-mile solar plant in San Bernardino County’s Ivanpah Valley

Andrew Kotch, a spokesman for the California Public Utilities Commission, said Southern California Edison crews had sought permission to work within 137 feet of the nests, instead of the 400 feet required by the state, but the request was denied.

Officials said the hawk nesting season lasts until August, meaning the upgrade may not be completed until October.

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