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The Strangest Local Stories Of 2013

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There’s news and then there’s strange news….and it all happened here in Maryland!  Enjoy!

Ravens Super Fan The “Mile High Miracle” shocked most Ravens fans, perhaps none more than Keith Letourneau. He nearly flipped his lid when the Ravens beat the Denver Broncos in double overtime, advancing to the AFC Championship game. The cameras were rolling, and his reaction scored him two free tickets to the Super Bowl.

Pastry Gun Flap A second-grader found himself in trouble after eating a Pop-Tart during lunch. Eight-year-old Joshua Welch was suspended in March after his teacher accused him of shaping the pastry into a gun. He was later given memberships to the NRA and the American Civil Liberties Union.

Jailhouse Soap Opera The inmates were running the show at the Baltimore City Detention Center. In April, members of the Black Guerrilla Family gang were indicted for smuggling drugs and cell phones into jail. The mastermind behind it all, Tavon White, was accused of impregnating four corrections officers. One even had his name tattooed on her neck.

Red Panda Escape Rusty the red panda became a celebrity in June after escaping his enclosure at the National Zoo.  Photos of the little guy began surfacing online as he explored the city. Eventually, zookeepers were able to nab the fugitive. They believe Rusty found a trail out, climbing tree limbs and bamboo.

Gephyrophobia It’s one of the longest, highest bridges in the country. The Chesapeake Bay Bridge is also one of the scariest in the world. Doctors at Johns Hopkins say gephyrophobia, or fear of bridges, is very common here in Maryland. Hundreds each year turn to a shuttle service to drive them across the bridge.

Green Paint Vandalism Someone tried to turn the Lincoln Memorial into trash. Bright green paint was splattered on the iconic statue in July. A woman charged with defacing chapels at the National Cathedral was suspected in the vandalism. She was admitted to a psychiatric ward and later found incompetent to stand trial.

Practice Bomb A run-of-the-mill night at the bar was interrupted by a sudden impact in August. A military plane dropped a “practice” bomb smack-dab in the middle of a bar parking lot… narrowly avoiding cars and people. The National Guard later said the device was part of a training exercise. A mechanical malfunction was likely to blame.

Navy Research Blimp It wasn’t a bird or a plane that caught the eye of many residents in September. It was a Navy research blimp. For several weeks, the giant balloon could be seen hovering over the Baltimore metro area. The Navy says it was conducting aerial mapping in the flight restriction zones around D.C.

Ben Carson Controversy World-renowned Dr. Ben Carson made waves in October, taking aim at the president and Obamacare. The former Johns Hopkins neurosurgeon criticized the Affordable Care Act, calling it “the worst thing that has happened in this nation since slavery.” He also made comments in February with the president just feet away.

Air Marshal Pictures A U.S. air marshal was caught red-handed taking inappropriate pictures of women on a plane. A witness first noticed Adam Bartsch using a cell phone camera to take pictures underneath the skirts of female passengers. He grabbed the phone and turned it over to a flight attendant. Bartsch was later arrested after admitting he took about a dozen photos.

Hooters Discrimination A former Hooters waitress and her blonde highlights were at the center of a civil rights complaint. Farryn Johnson was fired from the popular restaurant chain in August. She claims managers specifically said “black women don’t have blonde in their hair.” The case is now in the hands of the Maryland Commission on Civil Rights.

Twerking Ban There weren’t any blurred lines for students at Annapolis High School. Anyone planning to attend a school dance had to sign a contract. It made things very clear… no grinding, intimate touching or twerking. If you didn’t get it signed, you weren’t allowed in. If you broke it, you were kicked out of the dance.

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