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February--March 2018


9 March 2018

The Detroit Free Press tells us of a man in Ferndale, Michigan, who had a skunk-infested crawlspace and chose to solve the problem with a smoke bomb. He proved unable to solve the resulting problem on his own, as fire rapidly spread from the crawlspace and engulfed the entire rental property. Ferndale Fire Chief Kevin P. Sullivan characterised the home as a complete loss and noted that no skunk carcasses were found.

Thai police officer Wissanusak Seub-in has reported on two friends who were in a jolly mood early on a weekday morning at Bangkok's Samsen train station. One of them recalls that, after several hours of drinking, they decided 'to take a photo with the train'. We don't know how his 24-year-old friend would have described this selfie experience. That's because a locomotive approaching on the other track slammed into her, leaving her with one leg fewer and, not long after, one life fewer.

Doctors at a hospital in Nairobi were hours into a surgery for a blood clot on a man's brain when they realised that they were working on the wrong brain. The man on the operating table at Kenyatta National Hospital had no blood clot. He is now recovering, regulators are reeling, four staff have been suspended, and personnel from nurses to the facility's CEO have resigned. As for the person with the blood clot, his condition reportedly has improved enough that he might not need to undergo surgery.
A little over a month before, Kenya's health minister ordered an investigation into claims of sexual harassment of women who had just given birth at the hospital. Also, a woman managed to kidnap a baby there last month, though the child was recovered a day later.

A human head, some scraps of flesh, a loaded hunting rifle, and ammunition were found at a private nature reserve near South Africa's Kruger National Park. Limpopo police spokesman Moatshe Ngoepe told the AFP that apparently 'the victim was poaching in the game park when he was attacked and killed by lions'. The big cats ate nearly the entire body, demonstrating far less waste than the typical poacher does. Whose remains these are remains unclear - a park employee who had gone missing at about the time of the devouring turned up eventually, having suffered a tractor mishap rather than digestion.

Sonia Okome gave birth prematurely at a private clinic in Gabon. The baby, Angel, remained in an incubator for 35 days, for which Okome was billed the equivalent of 3,000 euros. She was unable to pay, so the clinic refused to release the infant girl to her until receiving payment. The amount was eventually paid through a fund-raising campaign, with President Ali Bongo Ondimba being among the contributors. Reunited with her child, Okome said: 'I'm happy to have my baby back. But I'm sorry that I can't breastfeed her because after five months all my milk has gone.' In a further development, the clinic's director was arrested on charges of baby-kidnapping, but these charges were dropped the next day.

Thanks to reader Aimee for pointing me to the next item, in which the police were summoned during the wee hours in response to cries for help from a flat in Mainz, Germany. When officers arrived, they found the 58-year-old tenant and his 61-year-old visitor 'hopelessly locked together' with a large remote-controlled car and a mannequin dressed as a knight. The two men, both intoxicated, did not offer a coherent explanation for how their need for help arose. However, one did have other words to say: according to a police statement, the younger man was 'more than impolite' so has been charged with insulting officers of the law.

In Minneapolis we have baker Conrrado Cruz Perez, who was miffed by a co-worker's rejection of his romantic advances. This 47-year-old man is accused of responding by urinating in her water bottle repeatedly.
After noticing a taste of urine in her water several times, the female restaurant employee contacted the authorities. Cruz Perez denied interfering with the water bottle, but when deputies suggested that they might perform DNA testing on the container, he admitted to relieving himself in it once. He offered the explanation that the restaurant had been too busy for him to use the toilet.

Virginia's Fairfax County Police posted dashcam footage online that shows a car hitting its erstwhile driver. The driver, Isaac Bonsu, 30, had been pulled over by the police but drove off. As officers closed in, he decided to flee on foot. The video shows him stopping the car, running in a path that took him in front of his vehicle, getting struck by it, and running off. He was soon apprehended and charged with third-offence driving while intoxicated, hit and run, illegal window tinting, and other crimes.

David W. Romig is a murderer. We know this not so much through clever sleuthing work on the part of Marion County, Florida, sheriff's officers as because of wayward text messages he sent after staging a burglary and fatally shooting his 64-year-old live-in girlfriend. Romig, 52, intended to report to his wife that was worried that he'd be arrested. In his nervousness, he fumbled and the messages went instead to the investigating detective who had interviewed him. Romig's worries about being arrested were soon proved valid.
Then his DNA was found to match that on a partially smoked cigarette planted outside the home and a piece of torn-looking cloth caught on the damaged door frame. The cloth was later ascertained to have probably been cut with scissors. Romig has admitted that he may have killed the woman.

According to New Hampshire's WMUR-TV, a sociology student at Southern New Hampshire University received a mark of 0 for an assignment involving comparison of US social norms to those of another country. The student, 27-year-old Ashley Arnold, had chosen to compare Australian and American norms of social-media use, and her query to the online course's teacher received the response that Arnold's 'error made [completing the assignment] nearly impossible'. What was the error? She had chosen a continent rather than a country. At Arnold's insistence, the adjunct professor agreed to review the mark after completing 'independent research on the continent/country issue'. The university has now replaced the adjunct professor involved and refunded Arnold's course fee.

In New York City, it is proving difficult to evict Lisa Palmer. Palmer is a 32-year-old woman accused of illegally squatting in her room at Hunter College. So far, she has racked up nearly 100,000 euros in unpaid dorm fees. Palmer contends that she was forced to drop out of her geography course in 2016, one term before she was due to graduate, because she couldn't pay the bills. She says that she's going to stay put because she plans to finish her degree. Palmer, who is working two jobs, stated: 'I feel like every semester is a new opportunity to register for courses.'
After she ignored an eviction notice, Hunter College filed a lawsuit against her, which is still in progress. She says that she plans to fight the case, explaining that 'I don't think paying it off is realistic, and I also don't believe that I should have to pay it off'.

A concerned neighbour reported that Lake County, Florida, man Danny Konieczny was intoxicated and suicidal, so Konieczny was whisked away to a local Florida hospital for evaluation. Two hours later, he was tired of waiting to see a doctor, and he opted to go home. He stole an ambulance to do so. Sheriff's sergeant Fred Jones later said: 'You re taken to the hospital because you re drunk, and now you're in the ambulance you've just stolen to go back to your house. This could have been bad.' Konieczny parked the ambulance in his neighbor's driveway with plans of revenge. Whatever he had intended to do, he ended up in his garage, where officers found him in the boot of his car. He was soon whisked off again, but this time to jail.

28 March 2018

Michael Taylor Pinkham visited the police in Nova Scotia in hopes of securing the release of a friend who was in police custody. Officers with the Antigonish detachment recognised that Pinkham, 27, was heavily intoxicated and determined that he had driven to the station. Furthermore, Pinkham had been ordered by a court not to consume alcohol. The net result of his venture is -1 people being released from custody.

When Constantin Reliu's immigration papers expired, he was deported back to Romania from Turkey, where he had spent several years as a chef. Upon returning home, the 63-year-old man found that he had been declared dead in 2016, since several years had passed since his wife last heard from him. A court in Vaslui has ruled that too much time has passed for an appeal to have the government-issued death certificate cancelled.

On the first day of a trial for sexual offences in Tarrant County, Texas, State District Judge George Gallagher was displeased with how defendant Terry Lee Morris answered his questions. For example, Morris did not offer a plea when asked to do so. Gallagher therefore instructed a bailiff, on three separate occasions, to administer electric shocks to Morris via a stun belt intended for use if a defendant becomes violent. Morris, 54, was left too scared to return to the courtroom, and he sat out the rest of his trial, later appealing his conviction. His appeal has been upheld, and the appeals court has ordered a new trial, stating: 'This Court cannot sit idly by and say nothing when a judge turns a court of law into a Skinner Box, electrocuting a defendant until he provides the judge with behavior he likes.'

Inside a minimum-security holding cell in the basement of a different Texas courthouse were several inmates. Outside the cell was a corrections officer who was speaking with them. He suddenly slumped over in his chair. After a few seconds of not being able to rouse him verbally, the inmates forced the door open. About half a dozen left the cell to check on the officer, whose heart and breathing had stopped, and summon help. By banging on doors and walls, they were able to catch the attention of two officers elsewhere in the building within two minutes. Emergency personnel with a defibrillator were able to stabilise the corrections officer's condition. Parker County Sheriff's Captain Mark Arnett reports that the inmates were commended for their action and will not face charges for breaking out of confinement.

A United Airlines air stewardess insisted that Catelina Robledo place her airline-approved pet carrier in the overhead locker during a flight from Houston to New York. While the air stewardess stated later that she hadn't realised that the container had a French bulldog within, the dog's 11-year-old owner recounts: 'My mom was like "It's a dog, it's a dog", and she said: "You have to put it up there"', an account echoed by another passenger also. After a turbulent and often bark-filled journey, the canine was dead and Robledo was crying on the floor in the aisle. The airline said that they assume full responsibility for the incident and that pets should never go in the overhead compartment.

An Australian man by the name of Meow-Ludo Disco Gamma Meow-Meow purchased a transit pass that allows him to use the Sydney public transport system with ease. Last year, he made things still easier by cutting the chip from the pass, encasing it in plastic, and having a piercer implant it in his hand, so that he could pay with a wave when boarding or leaving a train. Things then became less easy for Meow-Meow: transit officers fined him for travelling without a valid ticket and cancelled the card, which still had value loaded on it. He has pleaded guilty to failing to produce a ticket for inspection and admitted to breaching the terms of service by altering the card, which is technically not his property. However, he stresses that 'I tapped on just like anyone else' while 'the law hasn't caught up with the technology'. He was found guilty and fined the equivalent of 140 euros. A legal response may follow.

Idaho science teacher Robert Crosland has been described by students as 'a cool teacher who really brought science to life', partially on account of the animals he has in the classroom. He also has brought death, however: he is accused of feeding a distraught puppy to a snapping turtle while mortified students stared. Some students claim that Crosland has been taking such liberties with the biological specimens in his care for years - feeding guinea pigs to snakes, for example.
The school said that most of the students had left for the day when the latest incident occurred. Disciplinary action has not been taken against him. The turtle, however, has been put down.

Three 20-year-old exchange students in Florence, Italy, decided to make that most Italian and most studenty of dishes, pasta with tomato sauce. According to Il Giornale, these American women purchased pasta at a supermarket, placed the dry pasta on its own in the pot, and lit the stove. After a few minutes of waiting, flames erupted, which soon engulfed the student flat. The students did have the presence of mind to ring the emergency services, to whom they confessed that they had no idea that they should have used water in their cooking adventure.
Local chef Fabio Picchi has offered the three women cooking lessons free of charge.

Police in Victoria, Australia, are hunting for the pair of men who decided to burgle a caf&ecute; in Burnside Heights, Victoria. Security cameras at the restaurant show two men pulling up to the café in a stolen car and one of then taking a hammer to the door. After some time, he succeeded in creating a small hole, which he proved unable to expand as time wore on. He eventually gave up and returned to the stolen car, only to find that the door had locked automatically. He and his accomplice did ultimately manage to leave the scene, though. Kaylee Muthart is a 20-year-old South Carolina woman who started studying the Bible while high. She later recounted: 'I misinterpreted a lot of it. I convinced myself that meth would bring me even closer to God.' The religious epiphany she then experienced while standing near a church was a call to sacrifice, to save the world by tearing out her eyes. After pleading with God and pounding her fists on the ground, she obeyed, with the drugs numbing the pain. A minister later found her clutching her 'squished' partially attached eyeballs.
Physicians removed the remains of her eyes, and Muthart received a course of inpatient psychiatric treatment. She is now seeking funds online for a guide dog.


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