Driver with "0" as his plate number wrongly gets dozens of parking-related tickets Chicago authorities say an error while testing equipment led to a man with a license plate reading "0" receiving about 170 tickets he did not deserve. The Chicago Department of Revenue said it has been using "0" as a placeholder license plate for testing parking ticket equipment and officials were unaware Tom Feddor had that number as his official plate, the Chicago Tribune reported Monday. Feddor said that beginning in 1997, his mailbox has been filling up with citations for violations, including parking at expired meters, parking during street-cleaning hours, running stop signs or traffic signals, and parking a truck, recreational vehicle, bus or taxi on a residential street. Feddor said he went to the Revenue Department and the Department of Administrative Hearings for help, but was unable to resolve the issue. Hearing officer Zipporah Lewis made several calls to officials in an attempt to help Feddor, but he said "the people she encountered at the other end of the phone seemed to be annoyed and bothered by her. Most tried to quickly end the call." Revenue Department spokesman Ed Walsh told the Tribune officials were unaware there was a "0" plate in circulation -- Feddor's family has been using it for 40 years -- or that he was receiving tickets from the equipment testing. He said the tickets would be wiped out and any fines paid by Feddor would be refunded. "The test violations should have been dismissed in the database. The majority of the cases (Feddor) contested successfully. But we are taking steps to rectify the situation so in the future an actual registered plate number will not be used to do the testing," Walsh said. .
Organizers of the 10th anniversary Great Eastern Iowa Tractorcade said a record number of tractor owners brought their farm equipment to the joyride. The organizers said 509 tractors registered for this year's 50-mile trek from the Dubuque County Fairgrounds to Dyersville, Iowa, and back again, an increase from last year's record breaking 450 tractors. The parade, which began Monday and ends Wednesday, stretched for miles. The event attracts tractor fans from across the region. "We tractor people are a different sort of club," said tractor owner Darold Sindt, of Keystone, Iowa. "For a lot of us, tractors are all we've ever done." .
Shoppers in Germany will soon be able to buy gold as easily as bars of chocolate after a firm announced plans to install vending machines selling the precious metal across the country. TG-Gold-Super-Market aims to introduce the machines at 500 locations including train stations and airports in Germany. The company, based near Stuttgart, hopes to tap into the increasing interest in buying gold following disillusionment in other investments due to the economic downturn. Gold prices from the machines – about 30 per cent higher than market prices for the cheapest product – will be updated every few minutes. Customers using a prototype "Gold to go" machine at Frankfurt Airport on Tuesday had the choice of purchasing a 1g wafer of gold for €30, a 10g bar for €245, or gold coins. A camera on the machine monitors transactions for money laundering controls.
An Iowa teenager with extraordinarily quick thumbs has beaten 250,000 competitors to win the top prize in a texting competition in New York. Kate Moore, 15, of Des Moines won the $50,000 grand prize at the L.G. National Texting Championship, which had its final rounds Monday and Tuesday. The competition tested speed, accuracy, texting know-how and acronyms. In one round, contestants had to navigate an obstacle course while texting. Kate went thumb-to-thumb with Dynda Morgan, 14, of Savannah, Ga., in a final three-round showdown that measured speed in texting lengthy messages without errors. The third, and tie-breaking, round had both teens rushing to text, "Zippity Dooo Dahh Zippity Ayy…MY oh MY, what a wonderful day! Plenty of sunshine Comin' my way…Zippity Do Dah Zippity Aay! WondeRful Feeling Wonderful day!" In a text interview, CNN asked Kate, "Do ur thumbs hurt?" "Hahah not at all! Ud b surprised they don't get stressed out," Kate replied. Kate's mother Claire said she appreciates always being able to contact her daughter, who typically sends 500 texts a day. .