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Infilnews 9, February 2001

Creative Re-use Award #1
The West Virginia National Guard have built an anti-terrorist training ground in an abandoned tunnel that was formerly part of the West Virginia Turnpike. The training area, located just off the Turnpike about 25 miles south of Charleston, is to be a staging ground for law enforcement, emergency workers and the military to practice responding to disasters such as underground explosions and poisonous gas emissions in tunnels.

Melbourne Boy Drowns in Drain
A teenager's death in a Melbourne drain has brought new attention to draining -- and the infamous Cave Clan organization -- down under. Brian McHugh, a fourteen year-old Melbourne, Australia boy was drowned late December in the Northcote Golf stormwater drain when flash floods occurred. The boy's companion was washed approximately a kilometre down Merri Creek until he was able to get to safety. Neither boy was a member of the Cave Clan.

Pittsburgh Man Loves Buses
A Pittsburgh man was arrested in June after confessing to Port Authority police that he regularly "borrowed" buses from a city garage late at night, drove around, and occasionally picked up passengers. Ronald Johnson, a self-proclaimed bus enthusiast, would enter the city's East Liberty garage dressed in a driver's uniform, take a bus, and drive it around for awhile, occasionally hitting a few parked cars while carousing. While returning a bus to the garage on June 1, Johnson called a dispatcher to let him know he had "taken a bus out for a ride," had had a good time, and was now returning it. (Thanks to Slappy for this story.)

Creative Re-use Award #2
The Metropolitan Transit Authority is in negotiations with the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection to drop some 650 obsolete New York City subway cars into New Jersey waters to serve as artificial reefs. The remainder of the 1,300 extinct "Redbird" subway cars would be used as reefs off the coast of Long Island. The cars, which are very similar to steel hulls currently sunk along the reefs, could be disposed of at a savings of up to $13 million US if submerged in the water. (Thanks to Slappy for this story.)

Handshaking Infiltrator Strikes Again
An unarmed, unauthorized man cleared security and entered a VIP area to watch the inauguration of U.S. President George W. Bush in January. Following the ceremony, the man performed an "unscheduled handshake" with President Bush, passing a coin to him as he did so. The same man performed a similar handshake when he infiltrated Bill Clinton's 1997 inauguration.

Volkswagen Jumps from Golden Gate Bridge
In an effort to heighten awareness about the majesty of engineering, students from the University of British Columbia hung the shell of a Volkswagen Beetle from San Francisco's Golden Gate Bridge earlier this month. A few hours prior to this event, another group of UBC students was prevented from suspending another VW shell from Vancouver's Capilano Suspension bridge when they triggered a silent alarm, alerting the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. The Golden Gate Beetle was transported onto the bridge in a van, which the students then stopped in the middle of the bridge and hoisted over the side using a rigging of steel cable, nylon netting, and wooden planks. The Beetle was not said to have been suffering from depression.

Whale Infiltrates Whale-Watching Boat
A 20-foot baby humpback whale jumped on board a tourist boat uninvited earlier this month, injuring a tourist. A spokesperson for the boating company assured the public that security remains fairly safe for tourists. "Normally whales will keep their distance when they hear the engine," Phillips said. '"But juvenile whales are pretty high strung and they don't know much yet.'"

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