Odds and Ends – April 6, 2018 – April 12, 2018

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(Royal Gorge Dinosaur Experience via AP)
(Royal Gorge Dinosaur Experience via AP)

Gone extinct: Animatronic T-Rex bursts into flames

Canon City, Colo. (AP) – The co-owner of a dinosaur-themed park in southern Colorado thinks an electrical malfunction caused a life-size animatronic Tyrannosaurus Rex to burst into flames. Zach Reynolds says the T-Rex at the Royal Gorge Dinosaur Experience smoldered for about 10 minutes before it caught fire Thursday morning. Visitors watched as the inferno spread through the dinosaur, which appeared at times to be breathing flames. Reynolds joked, “We knew he had a temper, but today he blew his top.” The 24-foot-tall (7-meter-tall) T-Rex, which moved and made sounds, was one of 16 dinosaurs that line the park’s Wild Walk exhibit. Reynolds says it was a total loss but at least “it made for some spectacular imagery along the way.” He hopes to have a replacement T-Rex installed by the summer.

Romanian court says dead man
can get driving license back

Bucharest, Romania (AP) – Days after one Romanian court told a man he was officially dead despite evidence to the contrary, another court has declared that a man who was truly dead could get his driving license back. A court in the northern city of Iasi on Thursday confirmed that Valerian Vasiliu should have his license returned and be reimbursed a fine he paid for speeding. Vasiliu was fined and temporarily lost his license in March 2017, but appealed the punishment in court and won an interim ruling. He died in October, before the ruling was final. Police still appealed, but this month lost their appeal. Local lawyer Gianina Porosnicu, a traffic law specialist, told the Mediafax agency that “cases like this may seem odd or even sinister,” and blamed “a legal void.” In an almost opposite situation last week, a Romanian man who had been officially declared dead lost his bid to have his death certificate canceled. Constantin Reliu, a 63-year-old cook, returned from Turkey in January and found out that his wife had declared him dead. Reliu tried to get his death certificate overturned in court, but his appeal was rejected because his request was filed “too late.”

Lottery changes ‘Luck Yeah!’
campaign over profanity concern

Concord, N.H. (AP) – The New Hampshire Lottery Commission has replaced its “Luck Yeah!” ad campaign with “Win Time” over concerns that the original phrase sounded like profanity. WMUR-TV reports at least one state official, Republican Executive Councilor Russell Prescott, criticized the phrase last month after it started showing up online and in television commercials. But Lottery Executive Director Charlie McIntyre defended the ads. He had said that the word “luck” is an inherent part of the business. He apologized if it was insensitive. But he added, “certainly it is effective.” McIntyre had said Prescott’s complaint was the first he had heard, but noted that the ad was designed to make viewers pay attention. Information from: WMUR-TV, http://wmur.com

Sheriff’s officer accuses
Punxsutawney Phil of deception

Stroudsburg, Pa. (AP) – Punxsutawney Phil is a wanted … groundhog. A Pennsylvania sheriff’s officer has put up a wanted poster for Phil. The handlers of the groundhog last month said the furry rodent called for six more weeks of winter after seeing his shadow. The Monroe County Sheriff’s Office says that expired last week, yet a spring storm brought more snow to the Northeast on Wednesday and Thursday. Cpl. Scott Martin tells WBRE-TV he created the poster and placed it on the “wanted wall” because he is sick of snow in the spring. The poster claims Phil is wanted for deception. Phil is described as having “brown and grey hair, brown eyes, sharp teeth.” Records dating to 1887 show Phil has predicted more winter 103 times while forecasting an early spring just 18 times.