Odd News Roundup
June 05, 2013 04:45 PM | 365 views | 0 0 comments | 9 9 recommendations | email to a friend | print
New Zealand driver, 105: 'I don't think I'm old'

By Nick Perry, Associated Press

NGATAKI, New Zealand (AP) — Bob Edwards was born before the first Model T rolled out of Henry Ford's factory in Detroit. He learned to drive in a French car that had a lever instead of a steering wheel. And he's still on the road, only now in a red four-wheel-drive Mitsubishi.

The oldest licensed driver in New Zealand, and one of the oldest in the world, has been driving for 88 of his 105 years and has no plans to give it up, just as he intends to keep working out every morning in his home gym, and to keep regularly cooking meals for himself and his wife, who's 91.

"In fact, I don't think I'm old," Edwards says. "Not really."

He's been involved in just one crash in his life and has gotten just one speeding ticket, a citation that still gets him riled up years later. When he broke his left hip three years ago, his doctors said to stop driving for six weeks but he didn't pay them much mind. After all, he says, he drives an automatic and only needs his right leg for that.

In New Zealand, drivers older than 80 must have their health and vision tested every two years to stay on the road. Many countries in Europe and U.S. states have similar requirements.

While stories about elderly drivers making mistakes or causing crashes often make headlines, it's young drivers who tend to cause the most damage.

"Older drivers, on a per-kilometer-driven basis, are involved in far fewer crashes than younger drivers," said Andy Knackstedt, a spokesman for the New Zealand Transport Agency, which oversees driver testing.

He said that for many elderly people, retaining a license helps them maintain their independence, mobility and dignity. "Our job is really to balance that with the need to make sure our roads are safe," he says.

According to Guinness World Records, the world's oldest driver was American Fred Hale Sr. who was on the road until his 108th birthday in 1998.

Edwards drives three times a week to the store 15 kilometers (9 miles) down the road. He picks up groceries on Sundays and the newspapers on other days. Occasionally, he says, he'll drive farther afield, to a medical appointment or to visit friends.

He grew up in England and he learned to drive in his uncle's car, a De Dion Bouton.

"It was something new. Cars were just coming in," Edwards says. "I mean, it was just marvelous."

He got his first license in 1925 at age 17. Two years later, he saw a Salvation Army ad seeking young men to work on the farms of England's colonies.

"They told me Canada was very cold, Australia was very hot, but New Zealand, they said, was just right," Edwards says. "So I picked New Zealand."

He eventually bought a Dodge car, converted it into a truck and started transporting the fossilized gum of native kauri trees from Snells Beach in the north to the city of Auckland. Soon he was working 16-hour days and transporting butter, groceries and gas; he bought new trucks and employed a couple of drivers.

Gas rationing during World War II effectively ended his business. For much of the rest of his working life, he captained tourist and car ferries, fibbing about his age so he could work beyond what was then the mandatory retirement age of 60.

His wife, Lesley, stopped driving about 30 years ago. Her husband always took the wheel, anyway, and he will stay with it as long as he can.

"As far as I'm concerned, driving is a part of me," he says. "I mean, that was me. I was a driver. And I could drive anything. Anything at all."

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.

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DNA on beer cans leads to New York suspect's arrest

SYRACUSE, N.Y. (AP) — Authorities say a burglar's decision to knock back a couple of beers during a break-in at an upstate New York home led to his arrest.

Onondaga (ahn-uhn-DAH'-gah) County prosecutors tell The Post-Standard of Syracuse that 29-year-old Moses Wilson was stealing copper piping from a vacant rental home in Syracuse in early February when he found an unopened case of beer in the basement.

Officials say he drank some of the beer during the burglary. Prosecutors say police were able to match Wilson's DNA to DNA found on the cans.

Wilson was arraigned Tuesday in Onondaga County Court on charges of burglary and petit larceny. He is being held in jail on $10,000 bail. It couldn't immediately be determined if he had a lawyer.

Information from: The Post-Standard, http://www.syracuse.com

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.

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Massachusetts resident says poultry was pilfered

SOUTHBOROUGH, Mass. (AP) — Southborough police are investigating the apparent theft of 45 chickens from a resident's coop.

Sgt. Ryan Newell says the chickens' owner reported the birds stolen on Sunday at about 1:30 p.m.

The resident told police he had shut the coop's gate the night before and that one of his workers found the gate still shut in the morning — but no birds.

There were no signs of damage to the gate.

The MetroWest Daily News reports that the chickens were valued at $18 each, putting the total value of the stolen fowlS at $810.

Information from: MetroWest Daily News (Framingham, Mass.), http://www.metrowestdailynews.com

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.

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Runner's pain is no pulled muscle, rather, a baby

DULUTH, Minn. (AP) — An aspiring half-marathon runner in Minnesota attributed her unbearable back pain to a two-hour training session. A day later, she was cradling a newborn.

Trish Staine, 33, says she had no idea she was pregnant before Monday's surprise birth. The Duluth mother of three said she hadn't gained any weight or felt fetal movement in the months before. And besides, her husband had a vasectomy.

"I said 'no, no, that's impossible,' " Staine said Wednesday from her Duluth hospital room.

"I definitely thought I was done having kids," she joked. Staine and her husband, John, have a daughter, 7, and a son, 11. She's also stepmother to John's three boys, ages 17, 19 and 20.

Staine said she ran for about two hours Sunday in preparation for the Garry Bjorklund half-marathon on June 22.

"I had a sore back Sunday evening. I had taken a hot shower and was dealing with it," Staine said. "Monday morning, I woke up and had more back pain, and as the day went on it got worse. I thought I should go to the ER. I thought I ruptured a disc or pulled a muscle."

But she soldiered on, watching her husband play basketball at noon and going to her daughter's short play. When Staine got home, she thought a bath might help her pain.

As she talked to her husband on the phone, Staine said her pain was becoming unbearable. Her husband called an ambulance.

"I felt like I was dying. I didn't know what was going on," she said.

During the emergency room examination, Staine and her husband were stunned to learn medical staff had detected a fetal heartbeat. She was whisked to the delivery room and in what she said seemed like 5 minutes later, her daughter was born at 3:25 p.m. Monday. She weighed 6 pounds, 6 ounces, and was 18.9 inches long.

Staine said her husband has a good sense of humor.

"He's still in shock. Everybody is teasing him," she said.

Born about 5 weeks early, the Staines expect they will be able to take their baby home in about a week, a girl they have named Mira — short for Miracle.



Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.

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