There's a hidden benefit of being in the news business; a little secret nugget of joy that only people who report the day-to-day drudge of bake sales, homicides and city council meetings can truly appreciate.
As glamorous as our jobs may seem, there are days when we amaze ourselves that anything makes it on the air or on the webpage. But anytime a reporter gets to use the phrase "playing around with a handgun that went off and struck a propane tank, causing a small explosion" is reward for the long hours required of their job.
Kinda makes us ask "What were they thinking?"
For example -
(This one actually made national news)
* Katherine Silvers, a former educational aide for the Hart District at Rio Norte Junior High, was arrested in September for prostitution in Frazier Park. Apparently, she and her daughter had set up an exceptional massage service in Kern County and took advantage of both craigslist and backpage.com to advertise. The "one-hour mother-daughter massage for $250 with $60 bonus" was what clinched the deal, especially when the Kern County deputy stopped by and they were eager to oblige.
But wait. It gets better.
Apparently Silvers took her show on the road, because in November, she was arrested by Nassau County officials for giving massages without a license. Sounds a lot like how 17 local "massage parlors" got busted in November.
* Nicholas Stafford, 54, was driving along in May when he saw some really nice palm trees that he thought would look good in his backyard, so he put a few in his pickup truck. Problem? He dug them up from private property on Wayne Mills Road near the Valencia Country Club in Valencia. Kicker? Because of their value, he was charged with a felony.
* All arsonists don't start wildfires, but they do have some wild targets. Tevin Doyle Gibson, 19, was arrested as a suspect in 17 arsons involving those dispensers for doggie droppings. Guess those handles make convenient wicks and when the box catches fire - oh, the flare!
* One of our favorites from 2009 - In November, three hunters were taken to the hospital with burns on their hands and faces after a propane tank blew up in their motorhome that was parked somewhere near a hunting spot in Gorman. The three were sitting inside the motorhome (another hunter wisely left the pack and headed home) and one man was playing around with a handgun. The gun went off, struck the propane tank, causing a small explosion and fire.
The men were in a dead zone for cell phone reception, so they crawled out of the trailer and into a nearby car, driving south on the I-5 until they got bars on the phone and called for help. The fourth hunter was contacted and asked to help the fire department find the smoldering trailer.
* Two men in a white pickup truck stopped to put gloves on before breaking into a house on Via Heraldo in Valencia in May. Unfortunately, they did so in full view of a neighbor, who called sheriff's deputies. The gloved ones were caught carrying out stolen goods and the deputies found additional loot from other locations inside the truck.
And to prove they're not all criminals, but are definitely head-scratchers -
* Desperate times call for desperate measures, and when the state threatened to take away local tax allocations, Santa Clarita City Councilwoman Marsha McLean did something few other politicians can do for real - she donned a pair of tap shoes and danced in front of City Hall on a video for saveyourcity.net. It became one of the hottest videos on the site.
* Two words: Bridgeport Geese. Take two manmade lakes, divide by one eight-lane thoroughfare and chaos ensues. Traffic stops, geese are hit, much weeping and gnashing of teeth is done by Bridgeport homeowners, some of whom believe the geese were brought there by the developer. Committees are formed and protests organized. People take pity on the geese and feed them. Here's the key, folks, and it didn't come from journalism school: geese like water and humans who feed them. If you build it, they will come!
* There was definitely something fishy at the Sheriff's Station on one of those rea-a-a-aly warm days in June, when Robert Bradford became a guest of the county after he was caught driving a stolen car on the I-5 just south of the 126. Deputies found about 400 pounds of partially thawed shrimp, salmon and tilapia that Bradford said he obtained sometime around midnight in San Pedro. Along with the finned find were three balls of methamphetamine and a set of burglary tools. Needless to say, there was an early trash pickup at the station that day.
* A burglar with limited fashion sense was arrested after being caught on videotape taking items from his neighbor's house while the neighbor was on vacation. When he was arrested, he was wearing the same shirt he wore while committing the thefts of cash, jewelry and other items, to the tune of more than $40,000.
* They say that karma is gonna get ya and it's true. "Karma" was the tagline (literally) for Crystal Brockway of Canyon Country, who was stopped for failing to stop at a stop sign in Newhall. In her car, deputies found tagging tools and some papers with a stylized "Karma" that looked eerily familiar. Putting that information into the sheriff's Graffiti Tracking System, detectives found 30 reports of "Karma" tagging and Ms. Brockway was charged with 28 felony counts of vandalism. Her bail started at $150,000.
See why we love our jobs here at KHTS News? Looking forward to another year of fun and foibles that we'll bring you every day...