By The Editors of

Monkey business
An Arizona man and his monkey mask could set the stage for a constitutional showdown over the proliferation and legality of using cameras to enforce traffic laws. Dave Vontesmar’s daily routine of a 30-mile commute to Phoenix’s Sky Harbor International Airport leads him through a series of photo-enforced speed traps along Phoenix-area highways. By September, Vontesmar had received 37 speeding tickets in the mail from the photo enforcement project of the Arizona Department of Public Safety. But each of the photographs show not Vontesmar, but a man wearing a monkey mask-a tool the speeder says prevents law enforcement from making a positive identification. Vontesmar has decided to be difficult. He says he won’t pay the tickets, instead relying on a presumption of innocence until DPS officials can prove it’s him behind the monkey mask.

Knife fight
Boy Scouts in the United Kingdom are being told to leave their knives at home for campouts, but this time it’s not the Nanny State that’s emasculating Great Britain with ultra-safe advice. It’s the UK’s version of Scouting Magazine, the in-house publication of the Boy Scouts, that has advised boys to abandon their penknives. A spokesman for the Boy Scouts in the United Kingdom said, “We believe that young people need more places to go after school and at weekends, where they can experience adventure without the threat of violence or bullying and the need to carry weapons.” But many dispute the classification of Swiss Army Knives as weapons, instead calling them tools.

Coming uncorked
Usually staccato pops and flying projectiles at an emergency scene would be cause for concern. But the rapid-fire sounds at a Sept. 3 accident scene on Interstate 80 in Wyoming weren’t caused by gunfire, but instead by exploding wine bottles. Firefighters were confronted by flying corks when they responded to a fire in an overturned semitrailer with a payload of wine near Wamsutter, Wyo. Highway patrol spokesman Scott Keane said one of his patrolmen was struck in the arm by a flying cork and firefighters on the scene had to dodge exploding glass from the wine bottles: “The corks were popping out of the bottles like the old Jiffy Pop (popcorn) we grew up with.”

Cord caught
Four would-be thieves were arrested Sept. 6 as they tried to steal the giant chili pepper from atop a Chili’s Grill and Bar in Bennington, Vt. Cops arrived on the scene before dawn to discover 23-year-old Asher Woodworth and three others trying to remove the giant red chili with a hacksaw and power drill. The quartet of criminals drew attention when they triggered an alarm. But the 470-foot extension cord stretching to a nearby Home Depot to power the drill caused suspicion as well. If only there were a place where thieves could obtain a cordless drill.

Busy at prayer
While others have opened booths along Hunt Highway outside of Phoenix to sell cheap food and trinkets, one man has opted not to sell a thing at his booth. Instead, Matthew Cordell is offering free prayer to motorists on the highway in San Tan Valley, Ariz. The 38-year-old has staked out territory in an empty parking lot and sits outside his car every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday during the morning rush hour offering to pray for any motorist who wants to stop. His prayer tent has become so popular that some commuters are complaining that it causes traffic jams backing up cars for miles. The Pinal County Sheriff’s office has asked Cordell to move down the road a bit to prevent traffic jams, but district supervisor Bryan Martyn says he’s not willing to shut down Cordell yet. “As a Christian brother, I’m really interested in what he has to say,” Martyn told the Arizona Republic. “He wouldn’t be out there if there wasn’t a need in the community. Right now, a lot of people just need someone to listen to them.”