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Quick Takes: Oodles of noodles

Cracking the case of the mystery macaroni dumped in New Jersey woods

Illustration by Danny Neece

Quick Takes: Oodles of noodles
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After days of investigating, residents of one New Jersey town have solved the mystery of the great pasta dump. In late April, an Old Bridge, N.J., resident spotted piles of pasta alongside a creek. How did hundreds of pounds of apparently cooked spaghetti and alphabet noodles get there? Locals were long on linguine, but short on answers. Residents living near the dumping ground kept asking questions until they discovered the food cache came from a man clearing out his deceased mother’s home. According to WNBC, the woman had stockpiled pasta during COVID-19 lockdowns. A neighbor said the son dumped the food in the forest because the town doesn’t have bulk trash pickup. Why did he cook the pasta before dumping it? He didn’t. The pasta only appeared cooked because heavy rain hydrated it.

Bear meets sweets

Forget foraging in the woods—one bear in Connecticut helped itself to the good stuff. An employee of a boutique bakery in Avon, Conn., reported she encountered an adult black bear while loading cupcakes into a delivery van May 24. After the employee fled inside, the bear began gorging on the artisanal creations of the Taste by Spellbound bakery, destroying some 60 cupcakes and an undisclosed amount of coconut cake. Eventually another employee confronted the bear with her car, sounding the horn until the beast fled.

Ricochet risks

Game wardens in Kansas are pleading with residents—don’t try to fish with a handgun. The warning, issued on the Kansas Wildlife and Parks Facebook page, came three days after a Finney County game warden seized a 9 mm pistol from a man who was trying to shoot fish in Garden City, Kan. According to officials, firing into the water can be dangerous because “bullets can ricochet off the surface of the water” and then hit unintended targets.

Crying like a kid

Hearing plaintive cries for help, police in Enid, Okla., raced down a dirt path toward a farmhouse. “That’s a person,” one officer says on body camera footage released a day after the May 8 incident. The officers thought someone was perhaps stuck under farm equipment. But it wasn’t a human needing aid: It was a goat. After arriving on the scene, the two officers encountered the property owner, who explained one of his goats began wailing after he separated it from another animal.

Lost Down Under

A woman stranded in the Australian bush lived for five days off of nothing but candy and wine. The woman, identified as 48-year-old Lillian Ip, had been driving through a eucalyptus forest in the nation’s southeast, but made a wrong turn and ended up on a dead-end road miles from civilization. While turning the vehicle around, the car got stuck in mud. Without cell service, Ip awaited rescue, using her vehicle as shelter and candy as food. Though not a drinker, the woman even uncorked a wine bottle she had intended to give her mother. Eventually rescuers aboard a helicopter located her.

Biting back

Two men caught stuffing fish with weights to win a fishing tournament last year will each spend 10 days in jail. An Ohio court on May 11 sentenced Jacob Runyan and Chase Cominsky to a jail stint in addition to $2,500 fines for cheating in the tournament. During last year’s Lake Erie Walleye Trail tournament, onlookers accused the pair of foul play when their walleye catches were above the weight typical for that fish (see “When sports get fishy,” Dec. 24). A tournament official cut a fish open and found lead weights and chunks of other fish stuffed inside. As part of the plea deal, Cominsky agreed to forfeit his $100,000 boat.

Rubber ahoy!

Beachcombers on Texas’ Mustang Island might see more than shells and seaweed this summer. According to rangers at the state park near Corpus Christi, old bales of rubber have been washing ashore. The industrial goods first appeared on the barrier island in 2022. Another bale washed up this May. Park rangers say the bales of rubber are from a German shipwreck in the South Atlantic dating to World War II. In 1944, American warships sank the German freighter SS Rio Grande near Brazil. The ship’s cargo has periodically appeared on Brazilian shores, but now Atlantic currents seem to be sending some of the lost cargo to South Texas.


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