News of the weird: Crocodiles, George Washington and food fights |

News of the weird: Crocodiles, George Washington and food fights

SYDNEY (AP) – The biweekly water aerobics class at a holiday park in northern Australia was postponed Tuesday when an unwanted guest entered the pool – a 5-foot-long (1.5-meter) crocodile.

Workers at the Howard Springs Holiday Park on the outskirts of the tropical northern city of Darwin went to the pool to scoop out leaves and otherwise prepare it for the class when they were surprised to find the croc, which had apparently crawled under a fence from a nearby swamp.

“We went down like normal to check the pool out because Tuesdays and Thursdays the local ladies of Howard Springs do their water aerobics,” park manager Geoff Thompson was quoted as saying on the Australian Broadcasting Corp.’s website.

A government ranger was summoned to remove the visitor, which was identified as a freshwater crocodile – generally considered to be capable of giving a nasty bite but rarely fatal to humans.

“They were all there waiting for the ranger to collect it and once he got it out of the water they started their aerobics,” Thompson said.

The crocodile was likely to be handed to a local wildlife park.

Crocodile numbers have burgeoned in northern Australia since hunting that pushed the animal almost to extinction was banned in 1971. Attacks on humans have increased, with four people killed by crocodiles in seven months from 2008 to early 2009.

NEW YORK (AP) – If George Washington were alive today, he might face a hefty overdue library fine.

New York City’s oldest library says one of its ledgers shows that the president has racked up 220 years’ worth of late fees on two books he borrowed, but never returned.

One of the books was the “Law of Nations,” which deals with international relations. The other was a volume of debates from Britain’s House of Commons.

Both books were due on Nov. 2, 1789.

New York Society Library head librarian Mark Bartlett says the institution isn’t seeking payment of the fines, but would love to get the books back.

The ledger also lists books being taken out by other founding fathers, including Alexander Hamilton, Aaron Burr and John Jay.

The entry on Washington simply lists the borrower as “president.”

ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. (AP) – Students at New Jersey’s Atlantic City High School have learned not to mess with the lunch ladies.

Cafeteria workers served only cheese sandwiches Wednesday and Thursday as punishment for a food fight.

School Superintendent Fredrick Nickles says the school supplies only the basic food requirement when there’s been a food-throwing incident. Nickles says the policy has been effective over the years.

Only the group that engaged in the fight out of the school’s three lunch periods was punished.

Parent Bridgitte Reid became angry after her daughter explained the menu. Reid called it “prison food.”

A full meal was on the menu for students Friday.

MOSCOW (AP) – A Russian news report says a small plane has crashed when the pilot lost his bearings and decided to ask a tractor driver for directions. No one was hurt.

RIA-Novosti news agency quoted a local police spokesman as saying the accident happened Friday in southern Russia’s Stavropol region.

It said the pilot lost his way, saw a tractor below and decided to land to get advice from the driver.

Oleg Ugnivenko, a spokesman for the regional branch of Russia’s Emergency Situations Ministry, said the An-2 agricultural plane grazed the tractor while landing in the field and broke its landing gear. He said no one was hurt but gave no further details.

NORTH BRANFORD, Conn. (AP) – Police in Connecticut say an unmanned, runaway excavator demolished a shed, knocked over trees, flattened a pop-up camper and smashed into a house.

Charles Bystrack says he was drinking a cup of coffee Thursday morning when his house in North Branford began to shake. When he looked out his window, he says he saw the construction vehicle sticking out of his garage.

Police say it appears a crew working in a neighboring field turned on the excavator to warm it up, but its movable windshield fell in and hit the controls. Bystrack estimates it traveled about 60 yards at walking speed.

Police say no charges are expected.

The accident damaged the home’s garage and foundation, and cracked some walls inside the house. No one was injured.

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