Feb. 5 American Oddities

Ohio convention center to add restaurant built in old plane

CLEVELAND (AP) — A convention center in Cleveland says it’s turning a Cold War-era aircraft into a stationary restaurant in a bid to attract more visitors with a distinctive dining experience.

The Plain Dealer reports the Boeing KC-97G Stratofreighter used for mid-flight refueling had been mothballed in Arizona for several decades before the International Exposition Center bought it last year and relocated it near the exhibition hall.

The I-X Center hopes to renovate the interior of the air tanker into a 50-seat restaurant by 2020.

The industrial artist leading that task, Mike Ensminger of Elyria, says he would like to leave the aircraft as historically accurate as possible.

The I-X Center has put $600,000 into the project so far, and officials anticipate spending another $500,000.

Philly cops use hydraulic fluid on poles to deter climbers

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — While Philadelphia Eagles fans prepare for the Super Bowl, police are working to keep any victory celebrations firmly on the ground.

The Philadelphia Inquirer reports that police officers were out Sunday afternoon rolling hydraulic fluid onto light poles to keep celebrating fans from climbing them in case of an Eagles victory.

Officers who declined to give their names reported greasing about 100 poles up and down Broad Street.

They dubbed themselves the “Pole Patrol” rather than the earlier “Crisco Cops” that applied shortening that failed to stop some fans after the NFC championship victory.

Philadelphia’s police commissioner earlier vowed a safe but effective alternative before the big game. He said police had to assure the safety of fans “as well as the people who they could fall down on.”

Man with sledgehammer pounds parked Dallas police cars

DALLAS (AP) — Authorities say a man took a sledgehammer to about a dozen squad cars in a Dallas police station parking lot.

Police say the man walked into the Dallas Central Patrol parking lot at the city’s marshal’s office detention center before dawn Sunday and started hitting the cars. The center holds people arrested for public intoxication and other low-level misdemeanors.

His name hasn’t been released and other details of the incident haven’t been disclosed.

Authorities say the man has been taken to jail.

Alabama town unveils largemouth bass monument

EUFAULA, Ala. (AP) — Alabama is known for its unusual memorials and statues, and the city of Eufaula is adding to the list with a monument to a fish.

Officials in this lakeside town on the Georgia-Alabama border have unveiled a 12-foot-tall replica of a largemouth bass to celebrate its claim of being the “Big Bass Capital of the World.”

Bass fishing draws thousands of people to Lake Eufaula each year, and the state tourism agency awarded a grant to construct the monument. The monument was unveiled on Tuesday.

The agency also funded a marker celebrating the late Tom Mann, who helped get Eufaula on the fishing map with his lure company.

The big fish joins a list of Alabama monuments that includes a boll weevil statue in Enterprise and a coon dog cemetery in Cherokee.

9-foot-long snake’s escape leads to school early dismissal

BRENTWOOD, Mo. (AP) — Around 400 students at a suburban St. Louis school got part of the day off Friday after a 9-foot-long boa constrictor wriggled out of her aquarium, setting off a frantic search.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that a teacher alerted officials at Brentwood high and middle schools of the escape around 10 a.m.

The newspaper reported that the 70-pound snake went missing from an enclosure in a biology class.

Students were sent home from the school a short time later.

A broken hinge on the enclosure was blamed for the escape. The snake was found beneath the floor, wrapped around pipes. The ceramic floor was ripped up to retrieve her.

A biology teacher adopted the snake years ago and kept her at school.

When the teacher retired she left the snake for the school to keep.

Dead goose falls from sky, knocks hunter unconscious

EASTON, Md. (AP) — A waterfowl hunter is in stable condition after a dead goose fell from the sky and knocked him unconscious.

Robert Meilhammer of Dorchester County was hunting with three other people when one of them fired at a flock of Canada geese overhead in Easton, near the Miles River on Maryland’s Eastern Shore.

Maryland Natural Resources Police spokeswoman Candy Thomson said a falling goose hit Meilhammer. She said the man was knocked out, and sustained head and facial injuries.

The Washington Post reports that when he came to, he knew who he was, but “little else,” according to a Natural Resources police officer.

The agency tweeted Friday that Meilhammer was in stable condition and awaiting more tests at a Baltimore trauma center.

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