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Off-beat stories of the year in Roseville

By: Michelle Carl, Managing Editor
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No, these weren’t hard news stories, but you could file them under “Now, that doesn’t happen every day.” Here are the quirky, heartfelt and totally Roseville stories the Press Tribune reported on in 2012.

12. ‘Turf War’ starts in Roseville: Two Roseville neighbors battled it out on cable TV in an episode of DIY Network’s “Turf War.” Both backyards scored major upgrades with waterfall features, a pergola and outdoor fireplace.

11. ‘Skydiving grandma’ comes to Roseville: Remember the lady whose skydive didn’t go so well? The footage of her skin flapping as she fell to earth in the arms of her tandem partner became another entry to YouTube’s Hall of Fails. On Oct. 11, Laverne Everett visited All American Speedway in Roseville, where race team owner Bill McAnally offered to make another of her thrill-seeking fantasies come true — a ride in a race car. Oh, and we discovered she’s not really a grandma, despite being dubbed so by the masses online.

10: Worms at Woodcreek: The Woodcreek Nature Center employs 6,000 slimy suckers to deal with its lunchtime trash. We’re talking worms. The little wriggly guys are part of the school’s vermicomposting effort to reduce waste.

9. Soldier’s letter found months after funeral: Army private Rueben Lopez of Roseville penned a letter to his family with instructions that it be read at his funeral. The family didn’t discover the letter until months after he was killed in Afghanistan, a victim of a roadside bomb. His family found comfort in reading his words from beyond the grave, knowing he was proud to serve his country despite the great dangers he faced every day.

8. The Little Free Library: Residents in the Los Cerritos neighborhood held a kick-off celebration for their new library June 21. And though it’s the size of a birdhouse, the Little Free Library stocks a handful of titles on its one shelf for residents to take and return at their leisure.

7. Theft steals drama program money/free show thanks community for support: A thief almost pulled the curtains on Oakmont High School’s spring production of “Little Shop of Horrors” by stealing $3,000 from a drama teacher’s office. Students were going to cancel the musical performance if they couldn’t come up with the money. In response, the community donated a whopping $11,500, prompting the students to offer a free performance.

6. Beavers shape Roseville: When you spot a lovely marsh area in Roseville, there may be a beaver to thank. We discovered these critters have a lot to do with the local ecosystem and that the city tracks them with GPS (who knew?).

5. City bans outdoor pot: Roseville City Council just said no when it voted 4-1 to ban the outdoor cultivation of marijuana on June 20. While medical pot users said it would burden them to have to grow indoors, others cited the “skunk” smell as a nuisance to neighborhoods.

4. Bank robbers forget to fill up getaway car: When Cody Oldach and Alexandra Holkko reportedly robbed the Bank of America in Roseville Square on Sept. 10, they forgot one detail — gassing up their car. Roseville police spotted them at a fuel pump two and a half miles away from the crime scene, where they arrested the pair.

3. Bouquet toss trick play: Everyone expected Taylor Laird to hold the football in place for an extra-point kick that would have sent Oakmont to OT in the Sept. 28 game against Lincoln. Instead, Laird hurled the ball backward over his shoulder like a bride tossing her bouquet, resulting in a trick two-point conversion, a notch in the W column for the Vikings, and plenty of mentions from ESPN, CNN and Yahoo! Sports.

2. ‘Dancing Man’ decoded: Anyone who drives along Douglas Boulevard has likely seen the dancing guy waving tissues in the air. We introduced Clifford Keys to our readers, who responded with plenty of Facebook comments proclaiming how much they love “hanky man.”

1. Obiwan Kenobi arrested: A routine look at the arrest logs turned up one familiar name on April 21: Obiwan Kenobi. That’s when the Roseville man with the same name as a Jedi master was booked on hit-and-run charges. The Press Tribune first reported the story, which was picked up on The Huffington Post, The Smoking Gun, the Daily Mail in the U.K., Time.com and multiple television affiliates across the country. The man formerly known as Benjamin Feit changed his name to Obiwan Kenobi in 1999 to win a radio contest.