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Mayor Asks God For Mask Mandate, Exotic Lizards Spread in US and Other Strange Stories.

Mayor Waits For God to Issue Mask Mandate

A Tennessee mayor says he won’t issue a mask mandate until he is moved by the Holy Spirit to do so.

According to AL.com Lincoln County Mayor Bill Newman said he isn’t anti-science, but he refuses to issue a mask mandate. “[The virus] is science, and it’s true, and I do believe masking helps prevent the spread of it,” Newman said. “But I don’t feel I should mandate people wearing masks at this time.”

Newman—a Christian—told reporters that he takes all of his important decisions to God for advice. “The Holy Spirit dwells within us,” Newman said. “It’s a heart thing. It’s not a mind thing. But you’re using all your God-given [talents], your physical or mental or spiritual, all those things. When I pray for guidance, I may not know the answer immediately.”

A number of residents reportedly are taking issue with the mayor’s decision to rely on instructions from God to issue more stringent health orders. They are calling on him to enforce facial coverings. Lincoln County is mostly rural. It has reportedly had 1,322 COVID cases since the pandemic began.

Man Tries to Escape FBI in Submersible Vehicle

Authorities say a man accused of fraud attempted to evade arrest by escaping into a lake with the aid of an “underwater scooter.”

CBS News reports that Matthew Piercey led federal agents on a car chase before stopping his vehicle at the shoreline of Lake Shasta, to the north of Redding, Calif. “Piercey abandoned his truck near the edge of Lake Shasta, pulled something out of it and swam into Lake Shasta,” wrote federal prosecutors. “Piercey spent some time out of sight underwater where law enforcement could only see bubbles.”

After around 25 minutes, Piercy finally emerged from the water, and agents were able to arrest him. Piercey was reportedly using the Yamaha 350Li submersible device to assist him in his attempted escape.

Piercey allegedly scammed investors out of $35 million by promising guaranteed returns using an algorithmic trading fund with a history of success. He allegedly admitted to an associate that the fund did not actually exist.

Piercey faces charges including wire fraud, mail fraud, money laundering and witness tampering. If convicted, he could spend up to 20 years in prison and be ordered to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars in fines.

Exotic Lizards Spreading in US

A species of dog-sized lizard is spreading rapidly across the southeastern United States.

National Geographic reports that the Argentine tegu has become a popular exotic pet in the U.S. The large reptile has been touted as an intelligent and friendly pet, but a number have escaped from captivity in the southeastern U.S. and are now breeding rapidly in the wild.

Tegus are native to South America and are omnivorous. They can sustain themselves on a wide variety of foods. They are said to be incredibly adaptable and will eat almost anything they encounter.

This ability to survive has led to increasing wild populations in Florida, Georgia and South Carolina. The lizard has also been spotted in Texas, Louisiana and Alabama. Amy Yackel Adams, a biologist with the U.S. Geological Survey, told reporters that only a small fraction of the domesticated Argentine tegu population in the U.S. has escaped into the wild, but she said the problem is troubling. “There is the potential for a very large population in the wild,” she said.

Wildlife officials say they are attempting to locate and capture the oversized reptiles. The species’ tendency to predate bird eggs wreak havoc on local ecosystems.

Alaska Airlines Flight Hits Bear On Runway

An airplane recently hit and killed a brown bear while landing at the Yakutat Airport in Alaska.

According to CNN the crew of Alaska Airlines Flight 66 reported seeing two bears run across the runway as the airplane was arriving from in Yakutat, Ak. “The nose gear missed the bears, but the captain felt an impact on the left side after the bears passed under the plane,” said a statement from the airline.

Pilots later saw a bear lying on the runway while taxiing the airplane for parking. The left engine cowl of the plane was reportedly damaged in the collision.

Sam Dapcevich, a public information officer for the Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities, told reporters that it was a rare occurrence. “I’ve been in Alaska my whole life and we’ve had aircraft strike birds and other animals … but this is the first instance of a bear that I’ve ever heard of,” he said.

Officials Say Crashed Object is Not UFO

A strange object recently fell out of the sky and landed on Navajo Nation land in Arizona. But tribal police say it wasn’t a UFO—it was a satellite.

According to AZ Central the Navajo Police Department received reports that an object had fallen from the sky in the remote area of Dennehotso, Ariz. A photo of the object was published on Facebook by Navajo Nation Council Delegate Nate Brown. It shows what appears to be an object that has four large solar panels attached to it lying near what appears to be a parachute.

Tribal officials say the object appears to be a satellite, but others have suggested that it is a high-altitude weather balloon. The wreckage was released to a company called Polar Field Services, which uses similar balloons to provide logistics for extreme climates. [ ]