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News of the Weird: College fund built on roaches' backs

  • Article by: CHUCK SHEPHERD
  • August 23, 2013 - 1:40 PM

At age 20, Kyle Kandilian of Dearborn, Mich., has created a start-up business to fund his college expenses, but it involves a roomful of nearly 200,000 cockroaches in his family’s home. The environmental science major at University of Michigan-Dearborn breeds species ranging from the familiar household pests, which he sells on the cheap as food for other people’s pets, to the more exotic Madagascar hissing roaches and rhino roaches, which can live for 10 to 15 years.

Kandilian told the Detroit Free Press in July that of the 4,000 cockroach species, only about a dozen are pests. Why not choose a more conventional “pet”? Because “mammals smell,” he said. Missing from the Free Press story: details on the likely interesting initial conversation between Kyle and his mother when he asked if he could have 200,000 cockroaches in the house.

‘Miracle’ at intersection

The intersection of West Gateway Boulevard and North Congress Avenue in Boynton Beach, Fla. (population 60,000), is nine lanes wide, busy even at 11 p.m. on Sunday night, as it was at that time in July when a 2-year-old girl darted across. A combination of good fortune and sometimes-rare Florida driver alertness allowed her safe arrival on the other side without a scratch. “It’s a miracle,” said Harry Scott, who witnessed it. Mom Kayla Campbell, 26, was charged with felony neglect, as she appeared “oblivious,” said police, to the child’s absence from home.

Unclear on the concept

At Twycross Zoo in England, a program is underway to try to teach quarter-ton giant tortoises to speed up. An extended outdoor pen had been built for Speedy, age 70; Tim, 40; and Shelly, 30, but that meant it took a longer time to round them up for bed at the end of the day. The Leicester Mercury reported in June that zoo officials were trying to use the lure of food to get the tortoises to significantly improve their way-under-1-mile-per-hour gait.

Gopher feet stolen

Tina Marie Garrison, 37, and her son Junior Lee Dillon, 18, of Preston, Minn., were charged in June with stealing almost $5,000 worth of gopher feet from the freezer of a gopher trapper in Granger, Minn., and selling them for the local offered bounty of $3 per pair. Garrison, Dillon and the victimized trapper were friends, and it was not clear why the thinly populated gopher-foot market would not have deterred Garrison and Dillon.

Old world ways

The Best of the International Press: In July, the governor of Gorontalo province in Indonesia decreed that female secretaries should be replaced immediately with males. He was responding to a recent excessive spate of extramarital affairs by male bureaucrats with their female secretaries. (“Old women who are no longer attractive” could also be hired, he said.)

Not their days

(1) A 28-year-old man was accidentally killed in Shelby, N.C., in April. Police say he had trespassed on a salvage lot at 5 a.m. and was underneath a wrecked car trying to steal a catalytic converter when the jack slipped, and the car fell on him. (2) A 42-year-old man was shot and wounded while on his front porch in Antioch, Calif., on the morning of June 28. He was treated and released, but then walked out on his porch the next morning and was again shot, this time fatally.

A NOTW classic

When Alcoa Inc. prepared to build an aluminum smelting plant in Iceland in 2004, the government forced it to hire an expert to assure that none of the country’s legendary “hidden people” lived underneath the property. The elf-like goblins provoke genuine apprehensiveness in many of the country’s 300,000 natives (who are all, reputedly, related by blood). An Alcoa spokesman told Vanity Fair writer Michael Lewis that the inspection, which delayed construction for six months, was necessary: “We couldn’t be in the position of acknowledging the existence of hidden people.”

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