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January 1, 2013

Region had a lot of odd news in '12

BOSTON — It was a year when a bear vacationed on Cape Cod, a third-grader dodged jury duty, and police briefly pursued a monster in Boston.

Weird news grabbed lots of headlines in New England in 2012.

Wildlife officials believe a black bear that visited Cape Cod was the first of its kind to do so after swimming across Cape Cod Canal on Memorial Day weekend.

The 180-pound bruin became wildly popular during its more than two-week trip to the peninsula’s tip.

People documented bear sightings with photos and videos, and a Twitter feed and a Facebook account purporting to belong to the bear were created.

Authorities captured the bear and took it to central Massachusetts but had to relocate the animal again a couple of weeks later when it appeared in suburban Boston.

In other appearance matters, the grandmother of 9-year-old Jacob Clark told him he had a good excuse to miss school after he got a court summons in March.

“I was like, ‘What’s a jury duty?’” the boy asked.

Turns out, someone had typed 1982 instead of 2002 in records of Jacob’s birth year.

Another birthday made headlines in September when a woman delivered her newborn in the New Hampshire Motor Speedway parking lot.

Shawna Arnold was heading to a hospital when she and her boyfriend made the pit stop because her baby was on the fast track to being born. The speedway’s general manager awarded the baby two tickets to NASCAR races for life.

In other ticket news, a Massachusetts man hit a $1 million jackpot in August after a store clerk gave him a scratch-off lottery ticket that was not the one he’d asked to buy. Richard Brown said he “rolled with it,” and soon he was rolling in cash. He opted for a one-time lump payment of about $430,000 after taxes and a $10,000 commission went to the store.

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