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Friday Morning Bizarre News Headlines

HOUSE HIT AGAIN

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -- Doug Edmisten may want to think about moving to a safer neighborhood.

The Tennessee National Guardsman had his Christmas Eve interrupted by news that a vehicle had smashed through his house.

It happened in the same spot where another vehicle came through nearly two years ago.

That time, according to the Knoxville Sentinel, a runaway construction truck ran into the house when Edmisten was home from Iraq for his son's birth.

This time it was a van owned by a neighbor, who told police he'd been working on the brakes.

Two years ago, the family spent 65 days in a motel while the damage was repaired. Edmisten figures that's where they'll be celebrating his son's second birthday.

NORAD TRACKS SANTA

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. (AP) -- Either Santa is more popular than ever -- or his fans are getting better at tracking him down.

According to NORAD, its Santa-tracking operation last week broke its own records for phone calls, emails and Facebook and Twitter followers on Christmas Eve.

Volunteers answered more than 100,000 phone calls and more than 7,700 emails asking about Santa's location.

The tracking operation had nearly 1 million followers on Facebook, and more than 100,000 on Twitter.

There was even a free smart phone app available this year -- and it was downloaded 1.4 million times.

LL BEAN'S BOOT

BRUNSWICK, Maine (AP) -- You might not think a hunting boot from nearly a century ago would be considered hip by today's college students.

But L.L. Bean's familiar duck boot has become a familiar sight on college campuses. One student at Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Maine, says she only has one pair, but some classmates have several. She says they're "practical," and now they're a "fashion trend."

One retail strategist says the boot is benefiting from a retro trend.

Whatever it is, L.L. Bean says sales have grown from 150,000 pairs four years ago to about 400,000 this year.

The original hunting shoe has become something of an unofficial symbol of Maine. There's a giant L.L. Bean boot outside the 24-hour retail store near the company's headquarters, where tourists regularly take pictures of it.

MOONSHINERS-VIRGINIA

NORFOLK, Va. (AP) -- This isn't the image Virginia had in mind when state officials agreed to help out with the Discovery Channel's "Moonshiners" television show.

The TV series is about people who brew their own moonshine, about about the efforts of local authorities to track them down. It includes actual western Virginia residents and state agents.

But it doesn't include actual moonshine -- despite what viewers may think.

People are asking the state Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control why Virginia authorities are allowing a crime to take place.

A spokeswoman for the department says what the viewers don't know is that the show is a dramatization, and that no illegal liquor is actually being produced.

Officials say if they'd known that the show was going to suggest otherwise, they never would have taken part.

SKI BUSES POT BUST

LAS VEGAS (AP) -- A Nevada police chief says he offered a choice to the mostly-teenage passengers on five buses that were headed to Utah from Northern California for a ski trip.

Don Zumwalt says he told them they could spend the next three days in juvenile detention -- or they could hand over the marijuana that had been detected on all five buses.

The kids gave up the pot.

And that was a better choice for all concerned. Zumwalt says if he'd arrested them all and confiscated the buses, it would have been a logistical nightmare. His juvenile detention facility only has 20 beds.

He says he gave them a "fatherly talk about skiing sober" before sending them on their way -- minus the pot, pipes, bongs and rolling papers that were turned over.

HAPPY NEW--OOPS

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -- This time, Nashville is hoping to ring in the New Year without a hitch.

Last year's official celebration in downtown Nashville included a brightly lit guitar descending from a scaffolding truck to mark the last seconds.

It got stuck 10 feet above the zero mark. The midnight kisses and the champagne toasts were delayed.

This time, officials will be lowering a 15-foot-tall red musical note from a 115-foot structure -- 20 feet higher than last year. And the city will have total control of the countdown apparatus this year -- unlike last year, when it partnered with a restaurant chain.

An official with Nashville's Visitors Bureau says the city is using Times Square as its model -- and he says "we want to be mentioned in that same breath."

Copyright 2011. The Associated Press.


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