The Odd Truth, April 3, 2003

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The Odd Truth is a collection of strange but factual news stories from around the world compiled by's Brian Bernbaum. A new collection of stories is published each weekday. On weekends, you can read a week's worth of The Odd Truth.

Streaking Soldiers

FORT BRAGG, N.C. - A National Guard battalion commander is being relieved of his command for running naked outside the barracks at Fort Bragg.

Lt. Col. J.D. Webster was one of several soldiers seen streaking on Feb. 18, the military said.

Maj. Gen. Zannie O. Smith, acting commander of the 18th Airborne Corps and Fort Bragg, has told Webster he intends to take away his job as commander of the 1st Battalion of the 130th Aviation Regiment, an Apache attack helicopter unit.

Final action will be taken after the officers have been offered a chance to give a rebuttal.

Couple Marries After 77 Years

OKLAHOMA CITY - Zyness O'Haver and Sallie Warren decided to make it official and get married. Why not, after living together 77 years?

O'Haver, 95, and Warren, 94, were married Wednesday in a ceremony at the Oklahoma County courthouse. Three of the couple's four grandchildren were on hand to witness.

"I can't remember when I've married a more anxious bride," said Special Judge J. Fred Doak.

After the repeating of the vows and exchange of rings - enlivened once when Warren prematurely answered the judge with "I sure do!" and a few times when she gave O'Haver quick kisses - the judge pronounced them "man and wife, woman and husband."

O'Haver is a retired plumber and construction contractor. His bride has used O'Haver's name for many years. They apparently began living as a couple in 1925 and had one son, the late Louis Gene O'Haver.

A granddaughter, Rebecca O'Haver of Oklahoma City, said her grandparents met during "a hayrack ride" in Texas when her grandfather was about 17, and her grandmother, a native of Tyler, Texas, was 16.

Rebecca O'Haver said the family had long considered her grandparents' wedding date as July 17, 1925. But, family members never were able to locate their marriage license and were told conflicting stories about it, until they decided it didn't exist.

Girl Shot With Crossbow, Two Injured

SYDNEY, Australia - A 16-year-old girl shot through the back with a crossbow by an ex-boyfriend at a school north of Sydney on Thursday was expected to survive, doctors said.

The crossbow bolt, which entered the girl's back and came out through her chest punctured a lung "but we can fix that," said Dr. Cameron Dart at John Hunter Hospital. "Fortunately it ... missed all vital blood vessels and organs."

The crossbow bolt passed out of the girl's chest and pierced both legs of a 15-year-old girl standing behind her, breaking bones in both limbs and lodging in one leg.

Police said they charged a 16-year-old boy with attempted murder, two counts of maliciously wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm and possession of a prohibited weapon. The attack may have stemmed from a souring relationship the boy had with the girl.

They alleged the boy also threw a lit petrol bomb at one of the girls after shooting at them, and that he'd also be charged with throwing an explosive. He was refused bail and held in custody to face a children's court Friday.

Baywatch Bandit Busted

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - A businessman was indicted Wednesday for allegedly defrauding investors by leading them to believe his company was associated with the "Baywatch" television series.

David William Port, 49, formerly of Kansas City and now of Great Britain, allegedly defrauded U.S. and English investors of nearly $360,000 from 1998 to 2000, U.S. Attorney Todd Graves said.

Graves said investors in Port's company, PCG Media, were told it held worldwide syndication rights to "Baywatch," the lifeguard drama that had been renamed "Baywatch Hawaii" before its 2001 cancellation.

It was only one of several falsehoods Port told, Graves said. Port allegedly told investors that former "Baywatch" star David Hasselhoff was an investor; that restaurants themed after the show would be taking over the Planet Hollywood franchise; and that the company counted Coca-Cola, McDonald's and Philip Morris among its clients.

Student Slaughters Chicken, But Is It Art?

BERKELEY, Calif. - A college art project has bird lovers screaming foul in Berkeley, California. A University of California art student stunned classmates when he slaughtered a chicken in class. He wanted to make the point that people are too removed from the source of their food. Now a campus animal rights group wants him arrested and expelled. The Berkeley Organization for Animal Advocacy also wants the instructor suspended. Cal's art department reprimanded the student, but no further action is planned. The student's name hasn't been released. School officials say the student has apologized for his bloody masterpiece.

Photographer Canned For Combining Shots

LOS ANGELES - The Los Angeles Times has fired a photographer for digitally manipulating a front-page photo on the war in Iraq.

In an editor's note in yesterday's paper, the Times said the photographer admitted combining two pictures to improve the composition.

Journalism ethics forbids changing content of news photos. The policy at the Times specifically forbids such photo manipulation.

The two photos were taken moments apart. They show a British soldier directing Iraqi civilians to take cover from possible Iraqi fire in the outskirts of Basra.

After the photo ran Monday, editors noticed some of the civilians appeared twice in the background.

The photographer had been at the paper since 1998.

Lucky Break

FITCHBURG, Mass. - A day after losing his job, Michael Maxim got a surprise that should make unemployment easier to bear: a $1 million lottery win.

Maxim purchased a $5 scratch ticket Saturday, the day after he accepted a voluntary layoff from the Fitchburg Parks Department in hopes of sparing a coworker's job, he said.

"I had to look at the ticket five or six times," Maxim said. "I was just waiting for it to change in front of my eyes."

The $1 million prize - $34,000 annually for 20 years after taxes - will be his last time playing the lottery, Maxim said.

"Once you hit that big, you stop," he said. "I am done."

Maxim said he intends to keep working after a move to Largo, Fla., where his wife and two kids had planned to move after his layoff and before his big lottery hit.

His one splurge? An all expenses paid vacation he promised his mother if he ever hit it big.

"I'm sending my Mom to sunny Hawaii," he said.