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February 2007


8 February 2007

When a Madison, Wisconsin, man was arrested and charged with driving while intoxicated, his lawyer, Rick Petri, came to collect him. It was then that Petri himself was arrested for drunken driving. He explained that he'd had a few drinks earlier in the evening but thought he had slept off the effects. Having prosecuted drunken drivers, he said, he should have known better. It was the first such arrest for both men.

James Sherley, who teaches at MIT, has announced that he is going on a hunger strike. He explained that he will consume only water, vitamins, and electrolyte supplements until he is granted tenure. The 49-year-old teacher said he will spend his mornings outside provost L. Rafael Reif's office, and his afternoons in the lab. He claims that racism is a factor in the university's decision to deny him tenure.

Wayne Kingwell of Fort Erie, Ontario, was caught trying to enter the United States via the Niagara River in the middle of the night. His rubber raft was pulled to safety on the US side of the border, and he was treated for hypothermia.
He explained that he crosses to the US to pay credit card bills in person, to avoid the $85 fee he would face if mailing payment from Canada. He also said that he can't drive across the border because he has had a dispute with the Canadian government. After questioning Kingwell for several minutes, a judge sentenced him to time served, saying: 'Your actions, if perhaps not the wisest, were not done with evil intent.'

In San Diego, four people allegedly assaulted a man on the street and demanded his belongings. The aggrieved man fled, with the four muggers giving chase. Two of the suspects tired of the chase, stopped, and removed their bandanas. The place they chose to do this was next to the San Diego Police Department headquarters, within shot of surveillance cameras. Curious officers emerged from the building, and the two suspects, 18-year-old Jeremy Meeks and a 15-year-old, were taken into custody.

Matthew LaClair, a high-school student in Kearny, New Jersey, secretly taped teacher David Paszkiewicz's classroom lectures, in order to back up claims that he thought would be unbelievable otherwise. For example, Paszkiewicz told the class that evolution is not scientific, 'dinosaurs were aboard Noah's ark', and that a Muslim girl in the class is 'definitely' going to hell. In January, the teacher, who is head of a Baptist youth group, responded in a letter to the local paper where he said that the Constitution allows freedom of speech and religion.
The school board has instituted training for teachers on separation of church and state. It also has banned taping in class without the teacher's permission. LaClair has received at least one death threat.

Lisa Marie Nowak was a married mother of three and a NASA astronaut, but she wanted something more: to cement her relationship with fellow astronaut Bill Oefelein. To this end, she drove from Texas to Florida - wearing nappies on the journey in order to save some time - to meet romantic rival Colleen Shipman in the Orlando airport car park.
According to a police report, Shipman noticed a woman following her at the airport, so she locked herself in her car. When Nowak failed to gain access to the car, she began to cry and said she couldn't hear Shipman. Shipman then rolled down her car window 'about two inches', and Nowak sprayed her with pepper spray. After Shipman drove off and reported the incident, an officer saw Nowak place some items in a rubbish bin, among them a wig and BB pistol. Also, she was carrying a steel mallet, folding knife, rubber tubing, and large plastic bags.
Nowak, 43, explained to the police that she had planned to abduct Shipman in order to have a conversation with her about Oefelein.

When Clarence Horner of Lincoln, Nebraska, died last year, his family opened his rented storage locker. Inside were 47 tombstones, from the very old to the very recent. Police chief Tom Casady said that it wasn't clear why and how Horner stole the headstones, which represent 'a lifetime of stealing'. So far, two of the grave markers have been matched with the corresponding burial plots.

Canada's Winnipeg Sun reports that police on the street happened to notice a man and woman walking past them with a cash register. The officers stopped the couple, 30-year-old Kevin Sainnawap and 29-year-old Annie Agnes Houle, and linked them with a knifepoint robbery at a nearby variety store. They had robbed the same store twice about a week earlier as well.

The AFP reports that Thailand's Jaeyaena Beuraheng visited Malaysia for a routine shopping trip in Malaysia 25 years ago but boarded the wrong bus afterward. In Bangkok and speaking only the Malay dialect Yawi, she had a misunderstanding that led her to get on another wrong bus. In Chiang Mai - yet further from her husband and seven children - she was a beggar for five years before being sent to a homeless shelter in 1987. Again, no-one could understand her. Recently, three health students from her province visited the shelter as part of an exchange programme. An official at the shelter said that 'she sang her same old song' for the visitors, 'one that nobody could understand until those three students from Narathiwat told us that she was sing in Yawi'. Workers at the shelter asked the students to find out whether the woman had any relatives.
Her family, who had been told she was killed in a traffic accident, came to collect her on Tuesday. The 76-year-old woman said: 'I thought about running away many times, but then I worried I would not be able to make it home.'

Indiana's South Bend Tribune reports that an enterprising 49-year-old man approached a group of men and asked whether they'd be interested in the LCD television that was in his car boot. One of the men, Keith Gluekert, told the man he would retrieve his coat and then check out the TV. The word 'police' on Gluekert's jacket led the man to say that he wasn't selling anything after all.
The other four officers in the group asked whether they could look in the boot anyway. Inside were large hunks of wood in sealed boxes that had Best Buy logos on them. The logos apparently had been cut from advertising materials. The man is in jail and has not yet been charged.

A taxi driver came across a collision scene near Rosvik, Sweden, and offered two injured people a seat in his cab to get them out of the -25-degree temperatures. When rescue workers arrived, they removed the roof of the cab, as one of the victims appeared to have a broken neck. The patient was taken to hospital. Meanwhile, Hans Lantto, who runs the taxi company, is out one Mercedes-Benz E 270, because the insurance company 'said it wasn't possible' and then that the damage to the cab is not covered by the policy because it wasn't accidental.

Ohio University student Charlie Vansant left class to discover that his mid-'80s Toyota Camry was missing. The next day, a woman rang him to say that the car was in her driveway. Accompanied by a police officer, since 'maybe she wanted to hold the thing for ransom', Vansant went to the address the woman indicated.
The woman, Kate Anderson, explained that she had gone to the university to collect her daughter's car, and her daughter's key fit Vansant's similar vehicle. When the daughter saw the car the next day, the next step was to check the glove box for the car's papers, which pointed them to Vansant. The case was closed because of 'mistaken car identity'. Vansant said: 'Her key fit not only my lock but my ignition as well, so high-five for Toyota, I guess'.

J. W. Joh, who works at a General Motors assembly plant in Korea, lost his wallet at work. A few months later, an employee at the Fuccillo Chevrolet dealership in Grand Island, New York, was preparing a Chevy Aveo for delivery when he noticed the wallet under the back seat. Joh's wallet was passed through the company until reaching an executive who was bound for a business trip in South Korea. Joh thus was reunited with his credit cards, money, and driver's licence.

18 February 2007

Anni Sheriffius of Gig Harbor, Washington, thought she saw dirt on her dog's ear. When she tried to wash it, the shi tzu's ear fell off. She took the dog and the ear to a veterinarian, where she discovered that the ear had been cut off and then super-glued back on, causing infection. Pierce County sheriff's investigators are considering criminal charges against the unlicensed dog groomer who was responsible.

Gainesville, Florida, school-bus driver Marie McNair told a 13-year-old girl's family that she wasn't allowed to drop the teenager off at a different location after school. When McNair 'suggested that the family call the transportation department and work it out through them ... they actually came onto the bus and started attacking the bus driver' while as many as 20 passengers watched, according to Alachua County school spokeswoman Jackie Johnson. Charges are being brought against the teenager; her mother, Sara Truelock; grandmother Alberta Truelock-Hardin; and aunt, Brenda Perrin. McNair was treated for bruises and scratches.

Rebecca Arnold of Woonsocket, Rhode Island, and boyfriend David Prata decided to have sexual intercourse in front of Arnold's nine-year-old daughter to teach her about sex. After the girl mentioned this to a teacher, their decision was not met with enthusiasm from officials. Facing charges of child neglect, the 33-year-old Prata said that he and Arnold, who 'don't believe in hiding anything', had sex 'all the time' in front of the girl 'so she would know how'. He stressed that the couple did not force her to remain on the bed.

A Sarnia, Ontario, man decided to fuel his car with a propane tank from a barbeque grill. Constable Bill Baines indicated that it wasn't hard for police officers to notice the propane tank atop the engine block, connected to the engine with a rubber hose: to accommodate this addition to the fuel system, the car's bonnet was up, obstructing the driver's view. The 53-year-old driver has been charged with operating an unsafe motor vehicle.

In Japan, Shinya Ito, 67, and his 65-year-old wife Tokie summoned help when their 40-year-old daughter slumped in her bed and didn't respond to them. She had starved to death in a makeshift hut at their home. One of her parents admitted to investigators: 'We confined her because she had repeatedly escaped from home. We feared that she would escape again if she got well.' The 40-year-old woman, named Takako, had been living with her parents since divorcing her husband over a decade ago. In February 2002, she escaped and travelled to another prefecture, but her parents reported her missing and she was taken back home.

Jorge Alberto Meija, 35, told the police that two armed carjackers had accosted him at a San Rafael, California, bar and ordered him to drive to Santa Rosa. There he crashed the car into a wall in order to escape. At least that's what he claimed. Police spokeswoman Margo Rohrbacher said: 'As far as we can tell, he was alone in the car.' Meija later admitted that he had made up the story and the descriptions of the kidnappers in order to keep the truth from his wife - he was headed for a casino when he accidentally crashed her car.

After a drug bust, Nakia Davis needed bail money, so he rang his aunt from jail and asked her to bring his small safe to the Southbury, Connecticut, state police barracks, for him to open. As regular readers of the Clippings might predict, the safe contained, in addition to $5,000, 16 grams of cocaine. Davis faces additional drugs charges, and his bond was increased. Another relative bailed him out.

Three women knocked on the door of a flat in Anderson, Indiana, pushed past the resident when he answered the door, and then tried to cut a stain from his rug. The women told the man that they were trying to collect DNA for a murder investigation. However, there had been no murder there - only a fruit-drink spill. Detective Joel Sandefur said that police believe the women wanted to abscond with crime-scene evidence but had forced their way into the wrong flat. Diedra J. Heard, 19; Lareisha W. Miles, 24; and Latoya R. Johnson, 21, face felony charges of residential entry.


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© 2007 Anna Shefl