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UPI NewsTrack Quirks in the News

Fire started by squirrel cooker

HOLLAND, Mich., Oct. 11 (UPI) — Authorities in Michigan said an apartment complex fire was started by a resident who was attempting to use a propane torch to prepare a squirrel for eating.

Holland Township Fire Chief Jim Kohsel said a resident was on a third floor deck at Clearview apartments using a propane torch to remove the fur from a dead squirrel the resident intended to eat when the deck caught fire around 12:29 p.m. Wednesday, reported Thursday.

Kohsel said the flames destroyed eight apartments and 32 were damaged to the point of being uninhabitable.

The chief said no residents were injured and a firefighter suffered a broken toe while battling the flames.

The American Red Cross is providing temporary shelter and clothing for the displaced residents.

Giant anteater born in Nashville

NASHVILLE, Oct. 11 (UPI) — The Nashville Zoo said Wednesday a giant anteater gave birth to a son and the mother and baby are now living in the off-exhibit giant anteater barn.

Officials said the Sept. 19 birth was the third for mother Emilia, who was caught from the wilds of Paraguay, The (Nashville) Tennessean reported Thursday.

"Nashville Zoo is a leader in conservation efforts to save giant anteaters from extinction," said Connie Philipp, mammal curator at the zoo. "With the birth of the new baby, the zoo is now home to 12 giant anteaters, the largest collection in the country."

Batman producer gets doctorate in comics

WEST LONG BRANCH, N.J., Oct. 11 (UPI) — Michael Uslan, the producer behind every Batman movie since 1988, was awarded an honorary doctorate in comic books by New Jersey’s Monmouth University.

Uslan, 61, who attended the West Long Branch school when it was Monmouth College, gave the convocation address Wednesday at the university’s annual Founders’ Day ceremony and was awarded an honorary doctorate in Fine Arts with a special emphasis on the comic book genre, reported Thursday.

Uslan said he purchased the film rights to the DC Comics character in 1979 due to his distaste for the 1960’s television series, which he felt made a mockery of the character. He served as producer on every Batman movie from Tim Burton’s 1988 "Batman" to Chris Nolan’s "The Dark Knight Rises" this year.

"I can now say to anyone ailing out there: Read two comics and call me in the morning," Uslan quipped about his doctorate.

Road sign hacked to warn of zombies

PORTLAND, Maine, Oct. 11 (UPI) — Officials in a Maine city said they’re trying to identify who hacked a roadside electronic message board, changing the message to "Warning Zombies Ahead!"

Portland city spokeswoman Nicole Clegg said the roadside sign, which was supposed to warn of impending road work, was hacked early Wednesday morning and the culprits could face charges of tampering with a safety device, which carries a fine of up to $1,000 and up to a year in jail, the Portland Press Herald reported Thursday.

"These are deployed and used as a safety precaution. They’re not a toy," Clegg said. "We don’t want people to be distracted. We take this kind of crime seriously."

Clegg said the sign is owned by contractors and it is unknown how the hackers managed to alter the message.

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