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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.

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