From My Desk

Bob Williams

As a child of the 70’s and 80’s, I grew up with newspapers. I had a distinct strategy when it came to reading them that has not really changed with time: sports, comics, “News of the Weird,” then back to the front page to go through the entire rag.

Editor Chuck Shepherd’s syndicated “News of the Weird” column began in 1988 and still runs in syndication around the world. Shepherd retired from writing the column in July of 2017.

As a newspaper employee, I scour digital newspaper sites and our regional paper subscriptions frequently looking for anything from a story idea to a laugh. “News of the Weird” always existed somewhere vaguely in between those two. 

Typically, the best place to begin a search is local news, specifically crime beats, albeit some of this news can be equal parts humorous and really weird, sometimes borderline disturbing.

For instance, take April Baumgarten’s report from the Bismarck Tribune last week.

A Bismarck man was sentenced to 104 days in jail, time he’s already served, after pleading guilty to attacking a woman with…a yo-yo string.

According to the report, an attempted murder charge was dismissed.

The court tacked on a couple years of supervised probation for the real yo-yo, Mr. Derek Dillman.

Lunch for a sasquatch

KTEN television out of Oklahoma reported a bizarre homicide in the case of Larry Sanders, 53, who killed his fishing partner Jimmy Knighten while the duo were out noodling.

Sanders told authorities that Knighten claimed to have summoned Bigfoot to come and eat Sanders. He then proceeded to allegedly strangle the victim to death.

The local sheriff’s first report of the incident contained the statement that Sanders “appeared to be under the influence of something.” 

I’d say so.

Naked man hitches a ride

Florida, that’s typically all one needs to say when talking about weird news.

July 7, Sarasota, the local ABC affiliate reported a naked man was running southbound along the highway late afternoon during a rainstorm. The man then climbed on the back of a stopped semi trailer flatbed.

The man was made instantly famous as passing commuters uploaded photos and videos to social media.

The Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office responded and transported the man to a local hospital for a mental health evaluation. 

I think we all hope he gets the help he needs.

Don’t drink hand sanitizer

Closer to home, the Duluth News Tribune reported a 45-year-old Duluth man was stabbed by a 39-year-old woman after she was allegedly spotted drinking hand sanitizer in a downtown park.

Multiple witnesses reported Crystal Rose Sargent was drunk and attacked the man, who was known to her, without being provoked.

A bloody knife was collected by police at the scene, to which the alleged offender claimed, “I didn’t stab anyone.”

Maybe she destroyed that memory’s brain cell with the sanitizer.

Either way, at least for me, there’s a level of respect due to the police officers that have to deal with these lunatics and small town residents should appreciate their town’s police presence. 

Vergas has occasional late night issues and has to count on the county for patrols with no city police department. Every week we publish the calls Frazee cops have to respond to.

There are bigger towns that are losing their city police. Take Morris, for example. The city council there recently voted to dissolve its police force due to struggles to keep officers and staff.

The Stevens County Sheriff assured the public that the switch from city patrols to county will not be noticeable in terms of service in a town of 5,000 people.

That may be, as long as there isn’t a naked person talking to Bigfoot in a park, drinking hand sanitizer while wielding a bloody knife and a yo-yo.