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The Daily Wildcat

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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Offbeat News

    Town wants outhouse

    INDEPENDENCE, Va. – It has nothing against indoor plumbing, but the town of Independence would like to be recognized for its outhouses.

    Resident are hoping to have the town proclaimed Virginia’s official privy race site.

    Outhouse racing has become a popular event in the town’s annual Mountain Foliage Festival. Hundreds of visitors line Main Street to cheer as competitors haul 100-pound outhouses on wheels more than a tenth of a mile.

    Town officials hope to persuade the governor or the state’s General Assembly to recognize the community as home of the Grand Privy Race. The designation could boost tourism and the number of teams competing in the latrine extravaganza, they said.

    Helium shortage looms

    CLEVELAND – Bad news for people who cannot resist sucking party balloons for the comic voice makeover: There’s a helium gas shortage looming.

    Helium suppliers report there could a temporary shortage this fall. There are delays in getting helium plants on line in Algeria and the Mideast. Domestic helium production will be trimmed for a couple weeks for scheduled maintenance at two U.S. manufacturers.

    Operators of party stores in the Cleveland area are worried they’re going have to pay more for helium. And that helium inflation may be passed along to balloon buyers.

    Helium is extracted from natural gas and has more important uses in health care, manufacturing and high-tech industries.

    ‘The racoon ate it’

    LARGO, Fla. – Forget the timeworn excuse about the dog. Stephanie King told her music teacher that a raccoon was to blame for her missing homework.

    “”I explained that the raccoon fell from the ceiling in my bathroom and it ran into my bedroom,”” the 13-year-old seventh grader at Osceola Middle School told the St. Petersburg Times.

    “”Animal control came out to get it and they couldn’t catch it and they said we couldn’t go in my room.””

    Stephanie’s grandmother vouched for her story Friday with school officials. “”I told them she can’t get her homework, her books, because everything is locked in the bedroom,”” Natalie King said.

    The female raccoon and its babies crashed to the Kings’ bathroom floor the night of Sept. 6. Until then, the family didn’t know the roof was leaking, much less that a family of raccoons was living in their ceiling.

    The mother raccoon escaped into Stephanie’s room. On Thursday night, it finally sauntered into the trap set by Pinellas County Animal Services officers, who picked up the critter the next morning.

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