Burglar spotted riding bike with stolen 59-inch TV, cops say
Steven Long, 23, was arrested on burglary and theft charges.
7:20 PM EDT, May 31, 2011
A burglary suspect was arrested in South Daytona on Sunday � after he was spotted carrying a 59-inch stolen television on a bicycle, police said.
According to police, a bicycle patrol officer spotted Steven Long, 23, near the intersection of Wells Drive and Magnolia Avenue in South Daytona about 4:20 a.m. Sunday.
The officer said Long, who had the TV wedged between his lap and the handlebars, panicked upon seeing police and fled. He later ditched the bike, and its cargo, and fled on foot, police said.
Long was caught in a back yard on Palm Grove Court, police said. Officers later spoke to residents of a Wells Drive home, who had reported a burglary.
The victims identified the television as theirs, and told police they'd been sleeping when someone pried the side door to their garage open and stole their TV and other items.
Long, who agreed to talk to police, said that he was given the television by an unnamed friend to settle a debt, an arrest report states. He said he ran from officers because he doesn't like police, the report says.
Police said Long's story didn't add up. He was arrested on several charges, including burglary of an occupied dwelling and felony theft, and jailed on $13,000 bail. He remained in custody Tuesday.
The stolen property was returned to the victims, police said, but the television � which the victims said they'd bought for $2,000 less than a week earlier � was broken beyond repair.
Grandpa, grandson motivate each other to earn GED
Monday, May 30, 2011 4:15 pm
RICK CHASE Robert Speed, left, and his grandson Daniel Johnson are both receiving their GED diplomas after attending Hawkeye Community College's Metro Center in Waterloo, Iowa. Pictured Monday, May 23, 2011. (RICK CHASE / Courier Staff Photographer)
WATERLOO --- Bob Speed is finally getting his GED, more than 50 years after dropping out of high school.
The 70-year-old Dunkerton man will be joined by his 21-year-old grandson, Danny Johnson, in receiving the GED diploma Thursday. They are among 154 people who have completed the program in the past year. Fifty-one others also are going through the graduation ceremony at Hawkeye Community College's Tama Hall. Two other family pairs have completed the GED in the past year, including a brother and sister and a mom and son.
Both men say the support of the other was necessary to get through their studies and pass the five General Educational Development tests required for the diploma. "I was the math teacher, he was the English teacher," Speed said, laughing. They also credited the help of long-time HCC Metro Center instructor Jeanie Steffey.
The two hatched the plan to earn GEDs after Johnson, a Minnesota native, moved in with his grandparents.
"Dan came to live with us in January," Speed said. "Grandma said, 'If you guys really aren't busy this winter, you should go down and get your GEDs.'"
Speed agreed, as long as Johnson joined him.
"I thought it would be a good opportunity for me and Grandpa to get it done," Johnson said.
The pair were so dedicated to their task from the time they started studying in February that their classmates called them "the twins."
"We went seven weeks and we went four hours a day, five days a week," Speed said. "We had a goal that we wanted to get done this year and make the graduation." Students had to pass the tests in math, science, history, reading and writing by May 10 to go through the ceremony.
Johnson said preparing for the tests was "a little nerve-wracking now and then. I struggled with the math part. I lost sleep over it, I'll tell you that."
"Reading and writing were my weakest points," Speed added. "It was a challenge to get it out, to get it on paper and do your best."
That didn't stop him from running a business for 35 years as a concrete contractor, which grew to 65 employees. "Whenever I wrote a letter for my business, I always had the secretary check it over to make sure the spelling was right," he said.
"Fifty-two years ago it was a lot easier without a GED than it is today," said Speed, who dropped out of Dunkerton High School. "You could pretty much get a job without a high school education at that time."
He got into the concrete business after five years of working at the Rath meat packing plant in Waterloo. Eventually, he relocated to Minneapolis, where his concrete business flourished for 30 years. Speed and his wife retired to Dunkerton in 2007.
Johnson knew he needed to make the time to get his GED.
"I've worked odd jobs, and I've found it's a lot easier to get your foot in the door with an education," he said.
Someday, Johnson hopes to train as a mechanic. For the time being, though, he's putting in applications for a job so he can start making money.
Speed said he felt a lot of self-satisfaction in completing his GED.
"I've always been kind of a self-motivated individual and I just finally got that part done," he said.
Putting a Crimp in the Hookah
May 30, 2011
Kevin Shapiro, a 20-year-old math and physics major at the University of Pennsylvania, first tried a hookah at a campus party. He liked the exotic water pipe so much that he chipped in to buy one for his fraternity house, where he says it makes a useful social lubricant at parties.
Steve Kagan for The New York Times
Kevin Shapiro, 20, and his sister Allison, 18, on the deck of the family home in Chicago.
Stew Milne for The New York Times
Cassie Ramsey, a student, at a Providence, R.I., hookah bar. A boom in hookah use has led to new health efforts against them.
“Considering I don’t do it that often, once a month if that, I’m not really concerned with the health effects,” he added.
But in fact, hookahs are far from safe. And now, legislators, college administrators and health advocates are taking action against what many of them call the newest front in the ever-shifting war on tobacco. In California, Connecticut and Oregon, state lawmakers have introduced bills that would ban or limit hookah bars, and similar steps have been taken in cities in California and New York. Boston and Maine have already ended exemptions in their indoor-smoking laws that had allowed hookah bars to thrive.
The ornate glass and metal water pipes are used for smoking an aromatic blend of tobacco, molasses and fruit known as shisha. A 2008 study of 3,770 students at eight universities in North Carolina found more than 40 percent had smoked a hookah at least once, only slightly lower than the percentage who had tried a cigarette at least once.
But researchers say the notion that water filters all the harmful chemicals in tobacco smoke is a myth. So, too, they say, is the idea that because hookah smoking is an occasional activity, users are inhaling much less smoke than cigarette users.
Many young adults are misled by the sweet, aromatic and fruity quality of hookah smoke, which causes them to believe it is less harmful than hot, acrid cigarette smoke. In fact, because a typical hookah session can last up to an hour, with smokers typically taking long, deep breaths, the smoke inhaled can equal 100 cigarettes or more, according to a 2005 study by the World Health Organization.
That study also found that the water in hookahs filters out less than 5 percent of the nicotine. Moreover, hookah smoke contains tar, heavy metals and other cancer-causing chemicals. An additional hazard: the tobacco in hookahs is heated with charcoal, leading to dangerously high levels of carbon monoxide, even for people who spend time in hookah bars without actually smoking, according to a recent University of Florida study. No surprise, then, that several studies have linked hookah use to many of the same diseases associated with cigarette smoking, like lung, oral and bladder cancer, as well as clogged arteries, heart disease and adverse effects during pregnancy. And because hookahs are meant to be smoked communally — hoses attached to the pipe are passed from one smoker to the next — they have been linked with the spread of tuberculosis, herpes and other infections.
“Teens and young adults are initiating tobacco use through these hookahs with the mistaken perception that the products are somehow safer or less harmful than cigarettes,” said Paul G. Billings, a vice president of the American Lung Association. “Clearly that’s not the case.”
Mr. Billings calls the emerging anti-hookah legislation a “top priority” for the lung association.
The organization is having some success, particularly at colleges where hookahs had become a fixture in dorms and fraternity houses. Louisiana State University, Baylor University, George Mason University, Lehigh University and others have expanded their antismoking policies to include hookahs in recent years.
Hookahs are a big part of the reason the University of Oregon will ban all tobacco products on campus as of next year, after years of complaints from students about secondhand smoke.
Students already are feeling the change. For Cassie Ramsey, arriving at college was a bit of a culture shock, because she had to leave behind her hookah pipe.
“I only smoke once, maybe twice a month now,” said Ms. Ramsey, a sophomore at Johnson & Wales University in Providence, R.I., where hookahs are not allowed in the dorms.
“It’s kind of depressing because over the summer I was a very avid hookah smoker,” she said, gathering at least once a day with friends for smoking sessions that would last up to two hours.
Local governments, too, are moving to stem rising interest in hookahs. Most of the anti-hookah laws now under consideration are intended to end exemptions in state indoor-smoking bans that allowed hookah bars to thrive. Such bans often contained exceptions for “tobacco specialty shops”; many hookah bars qualify as such by not serving food or alcohol. College towns in particular have reported a marked increase in hookah bars over the past five years.
“It was appalling to me when I first saw them springing up here in the Portland area,” Carolyn Tomei, an Oregon state representative, said of the more than 45 applications her state has received from hookah bars since its ban on indoor smoking went into effect in 2009. (Previously, there were five bars.)
These bars rely on theme nights and exotically flavored tobacco (passion fruit, “Sex on the Beach”) to market themselves to the college set, and many do not serve alcohol, making them an attractive destination for people under 21.
Ms. Tomei, a Milwaukie Democrat, sponsored a bill to limit new hookah bars in Oregon; it passed the State House of Representatives in April and awaits a vote in the Senate.
Hookah bars have long been a mainstay of Middle Eastern life, and they are popular in American cities with large Arab populations, including New York, where Councilman Vincent J. Gentile, a Brooklyn Democrat, has introduced a bill that would prevent new hookah bars from opening next year and beyond.
The backlash against the crackdown has already begun. On Facebook, there are dozens of hookah interest groups, some aimed at protesting bans on hookahs.
“Why don’t they ban cigarettes from CT first, then we can get into the rest,” one Facebook member wrote on a page for people who oppose the hookah legislation in Connecticut. “I think this is just people being very judgmental.”
Pleeze help: Writing-challenged Brooklyn principal Andrew Buck asking parents, teachers for support
DAILY NEWS WRITER
Tuesday, May 31st 2011, 4:00 AM
An infamous Brooklyn principal - exposed by the Daily News for letters riddled with grammatical errors - is up for tenure and brazenly asking parents and teachers for support.
Andrew Buck of the Middle School for Art and Philosophy made headlines in October by denying his students textbooks and then sending rambling, nonsensical letters about it to parents.
Fedup parents and teachers were stunned that Buck would formally ask them for praise - and that he'd use Department of Education letterhead to do it.
"He's trying to scare us into writing recommendations to help him get tenure," said PTA President Paulette Brown, who got a letter from Buck asking for a "brief letter of support" on May16.
"He's crazy - he shouldn't be principal of anything," said Brown, whose daughter, Samantha, is in eighth grade at the East Flatbush school.
Buck sent out memos to parents and teachers on official Department of Education stationery in the past two weeks, asking them for notes that will be reviewed by officials making tenure decisions.
He also asked a number of his staffers for letters of recommendation in person. Many are scared he will retaliate against them if they don't comply.
"They're concerned he'll do something if they don't write it," said a teacher who received a memo from Buck that lists specific things to mention, such as his "leadership decisions" and "academic rigor."
Buck, who earns $129,913 a year as head of the C-rated school, is wrapping up his third year as principal and was denied tenure last June.
The techniques he has employed in his attempt to gain tenure are highly unorthodox, according to a spokeswoman for the principals union.
"I'm unaware of principals soliciting written requests for recommendations to parents and teachers," said Chiara Coletti, communications director of the Council of School Supervisors and Administrators.
An Education Department official said the matter has been referred to the special commissioner of investigation.
Buck drew criticism from parents and teachers this school year after sending out an error-filled email defending his policy of withholding textbooks.
The letter contained about 50 errors of logic and grammar and said textbooks weren't necessary in the learning process.
Angry parents printed it out and distributed it in front of the school before class one day.
Buck's more recent letters were far less offensive grammatically, featuring only one error. In one sentence, he used the word "your" instead of "you."
Voted the least-trustworthy principal in the city by the teachers union in 2008, Buck refused to comment on his latest controversy.
Sarah Palin gets it right
Our view: Republicans may be fretting that the party isn't rallying behind a clear front-runner for 2012, but the former Alaska governor is right that competition will breed success
May 31, 2011
Just when you thought the Republican presidential field was getting set, up pops the most mischievous force in American politics, Sarah Palin. The former Alaska governor — the real deal this time, not actress Julianne Moore channeling her for the filming in Maryland of the movie "Game Change" — dropped by Ft. McHenry on Monday in a non-campaign stop in her non-campaign bus on her (wink wink) non-campaign tour of the East Coast, which ends, in what must be pure coincidence, in the first primary state, New Hampshire.
While in Baltimore, according to a Los Angeles Times reporter who was able to keep up despite the lack of a public schedule, Ms. Palin read a manuscript of the "Star Spangled Banner;" hoisted a 36-pound cannon ball; briefly upbraided President Obama for referring to the U.S. Military during a Memorial Day observance as "one of the finest fighting forces in the world," as opposed to the finest; and in a particularly mavericky touch, paid a compliment to another non-candidate governor, Rick Perry of Texas.
All this action from the Fox News commentator, plus her recent purchase of a home in Arizona, which could be a perch in the Lower 48 from which to launch a presidential run, has delighted all ends of the political spectrum. In fact, it's hard to tell who's more excited, Governor Palin's many fans or the Democrats who think she'd be easy to beat.
But even before Ms. Palin's re-emergence on the national stage, Democrats seemed to be feeling pretty confident about the caliber of the Republican field. Once Govs. Mitch Daniels of Indiana and Haley Barbour of Mississippi, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee and (let us not forget) Donald Trump announced they wouldn't run, the GOP appeared to be left with contenders or potential candidates who were all flawed or unable to unite the party's traditional constituencies.
Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney is Mormon (which turns off some evangelical Christians) and has the distinction of having enacted a universal health care plan in the Bay State that looks an awful lot like Obamacare.
Rep. Ron Paul has a dedicated following, but his strict libertarianism (he favors, for example, legalizing heroin) takes him places many voters don't want to go.
Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich has a tendency to say things he regrets (witness his criticism on Meet the Press of the Republican House budget plan, and then his backtracking shortly thereafter). Plus, there are the three wives, the affair with the third while he was pursuing impeachment of President Clinton, and, most recently, the $250,000-$500,000 charge account at Tiffany.
Former Godfather's Pizza CEO Herman Cain has been attracting tea party support, but he is a virtual unknown on the national stage and has never held public office.
Rep. Michelle Bachman, another tea party favorite, managed to annoy the GOP establishment by giving a rogue tea party response to the State of the Union address — and whiffed the opportunity besides by staring into the wrong camera.
Former Utah Gov. John Huntsman, who has recently been exploring a campaign, favored civil unions for gays and, worse from a Republican perspective, served as President Obama's ambassador to China.
With that field, some wise heads have recently been predicting that the party would begin to unite behind former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, who has no obvious flaws other than the fact that he's been polling somewhere in the vicinity of dead last.
But Democrats shouldn't get too excited, and Republicans can stop speed-dialing former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush or any of the other imagined saviors of the 2012 election. We're at the phase of an election in which it's easy to see all the reasons why someone can't possibly win but very difficult to see the reasons why they could. Twenty years ago, the Republican president was riding high in the polls after the first Persian Gulf War, and the Democrats were assembling their own field of flawed candidates, and none more flawed than a draft-dodging, pot-smoking (though not-inhaling), womanizing governor of a small Southern state. That turned out a bit better for the Democrats than they might have expected.
The Republicans have always been the party in which the establishment rallied behind a chosen candidate, and its understandable that some might be nervous that it isn't turning out that way this time. But it's time to stop fretting about who's in and who's out and to start listening to what these candidates have to say about where they would lead this country.
It's rare that we agree with something Ms. Palin says, but she had it absolutely right when she said at Ft. McHenry "Competition breeds success. I would hope there is gonna be vigorous debate and a lot of aggressive competition even in our primary so that our voters have a good choice." We couldn't have said it better ourselves.
Healthy Difference: Sports, energy drinks may not be good for children
6:38 PM, May 30, 2011
(KTHV) -- A lot of parents and children think energy and sports drinks are the same - and a good way to give kids a boost when they're playing soccer, baseball, softball, or football.
But the American Academy of Pediatrics says that's not the case.
Twins Emma and Connor Waldron are very active 10 years olds, so their mom lets them have a sports drink after a tough practice or game.
"My daughter trains for gymnastics. She's there for 3 and a half hours every evening so I let her have it after that and my son after a baseball game," says Meryle Waldron.
Sports drinks and energy drinks are increasingly popular with children and teens - but a new report from the American Academy of Pediatrics says most kids who play recreational sports - don't need sports drinks.
"Sports drinks contain carbohydrates which can give you energy but they also give you calories and can contribute to obesity, being overweight and also dental erosion," says Dr. Alanna Levine, spokesperson for American Academy of Pediatrics.
The academy says energy drinks are even more harmful - and have no place in a kid's diet.
Energy drinks contain stimulants like caffeine and some of the energy drinks contain so much of them, it's the equivalent of drinking up to 14 cans of caffeinated soda.
Caffeine can affect the development of a child's nervous system and cardiovascular system. Pediatricians say the best way to keep young people hydrated - just plain water - before during and after practice.
Doctors say a sports drink may be okay if a child participates in repeated, heavy duty aerobic exercise.
"I feel like the kids can use the calories after they do their sports and they need the drink and it helps with their electrolytes and the calories aren't going to make a difference. They burn up so many calories," says Waldron.
But Emma and Connor are only allowed one sports drink a day. The rest of the time, they're happy to drink water.
LINK TO VIDEO:
MAYBE DISTURBING TO SOME
Gil Scott-Heron, soul poet, dead at 62
10:44 p.m. CDT, May 27, 2011
Forgetting Why We Remember
DAVID W. BLIGHT
May 29, 2011
MOST Americans know that Memorial Day is about honoring the nation’s war dead. It is also a holiday devoted to department store sales, half-marathons, picnics, baseball and auto racing. But where did it begin, who created it, and why?
Officially, in the North, Memorial Day emerged in 1868 when the Grand Army of the Republic, the Union veterans’ organization, called on communities to conduct grave-decorating ceremonies. On May 30, funereal events attracted thousands of people at hundreds of cemeteries in countless towns, cities and mere crossroads. By the 1870s, one could not live in an American town, North or South, and be unaware of the spring ritual.
But the practice of decorating graves — which gave rise to an alternative name, Decoration Day — didn’t start with the 1868 events, nor was it an exclusively Northern practice. In 1866 the Ladies’ Memorial Association of Columbus, Ga., chose April 26, the anniversary of Gen. Joseph Johnston’s final surrender to Gen. William T. Sherman, to commemorate fallen Confederate soldiers. Later, both May 10, the anniversary of Gen. Stonewall Jackson’s death, and June 3, the birthday of Jefferson Davis, were designated Confederate Memorial Day in different states.
Memorial Days were initially occasions of sacred bereavement, and from the war’s end to the early 20th century they helped forge national reconciliation around soldierly sacrifice, regardless of cause. In North and South, orators and participants frequently called Memorial Day an “American All Saints Day,” likening it to the European Catholic tradition of whole towns marching to churchyards to honor dead loved ones.
But the ritual quickly became the tool of partisan memory as well, at least through the violent Reconstruction years. In the South, Memorial Day was a means of confronting the Confederacy’s defeat but without repudiating its cause. Some Southern orators stressed Christian notions of noble sacrifice. Others, however, used the ritual for Confederate vindication and renewed assertions of white supremacy. Blacks had a place in this Confederate narrative, but only as time-warped loyal slaves who were supposed to remain frozen in the past.
The Lost Cause tradition thrived in Confederate Memorial Day rhetoric; the Southern dead were honored as the true “patriots,” defenders of their homeland, sovereign rights, a natural racial order and a “cause” that had been overwhelmed by “numbers and resources” but never defeated on battlefields.
Yankee Memorial Day orations often righteously claimed the high ground of blood sacrifice to save the Union and destroy slavery. It was not uncommon for a speaker to honor the fallen of both sides, but still lay the war guilt on the “rebel dead.” Many a lonely widow or mother at these observances painfully endured expressions of joyous death on the altars of national survival.
Some events even stressed the Union dead as the source of a new egalitarian America, and a civic rather than a racial or ethnic definition of citizenship. In Wilmington, Del., in 1869, Memorial Day included a procession of Methodists, Baptists, Unitarians and Catholics; white Grand Army of the Republic posts in parade with a black post; and the “Mount Vernon Cornet Band (colored)” keeping step with the “Irish Nationalists with the harp and the sunburst flag of Erin.”
But for the earliest and most remarkable Memorial Day, we must return to where the war began. By the spring of 1865, after a long siege and prolonged bombardment, the beautiful port city of Charleston, S.C., lay in ruin and occupied by Union troops. Among the first soldiers to enter and march up Meeting Street singing liberation songs was the 21st United States Colored Infantry; their commander accepted the city’s official surrender.
Whites had largely abandoned the city, but thousands of blacks, mostly former slaves, had remained, and they conducted a series of commemorations to declare their sense of the meaning of the war.
The largest of these events, forgotten until I had some extraordinary luck in an archive at Harvard, took place on May 1, 1865. During the final year of the war, the Confederates had converted the city’s Washington Race Course and Jockey Club into an outdoor prison. Union captives were kept in horrible conditions in the interior of the track; at least 257 died of disease and were hastily buried in a mass grave behind the grandstand.
After the Confederate evacuation of Charleston black workmen went to the site, reburied the Union dead properly, and built a high fence around the cemetery. They whitewashed the fence and built an archway over an entrance on which they inscribed the words, “Martyrs of the Race Course.”
The symbolic power of this Low Country planter aristocracy’s bastion was not lost on the freedpeople, who then, in cooperation with white missionaries and teachers, staged a parade of 10,000 on the track. A New York Tribune correspondent witnessed the event, describing “a procession of friends and mourners as South Carolina and the United States never saw before.”
The procession was led by 3,000 black schoolchildren carrying armloads of roses and singing the Union marching song “John Brown’s Body.” Several hundred black women followed with baskets of flowers, wreaths and crosses. Then came black men marching in cadence, followed by contingents of Union infantrymen. Within the cemetery enclosure a black children’s choir sang “We’ll Rally Around the Flag,” the “Star-Spangled Banner” and spirituals before a series of black ministers read from the Bible.
After the dedication the crowd dispersed into the infield and did what many of us do on Memorial Day: enjoyed picnics, listened to speeches and watched soldiers drill. Among the full brigade of Union infantrymen participating were the famous 54th Massachusetts and the 34th and 104th United States Colored Troops, who performed a special double-columned march around the gravesite.
The war was over, and Memorial Day had been founded by African-Americans in a ritual of remembrance and consecration. The war, they had boldly announced, had been about the triumph of their emancipation over a slaveholders’ republic. They were themselves the true patriots.
Despite the size and some newspaper coverage of the event, its memory was suppressed by white Charlestonians in favor of their own version of the day. From 1876 on, after white Democrats took back control of South Carolina politics and the Lost Cause defined public memory and race relations, the day’s racecourse origin vanished.
Indeed, 51 years later, the president of the Ladies’ Memorial Association of Charleston received an inquiry from a United Daughters of the Confederacy official in New Orleans asking if it was true that blacks had engaged in such a burial rite in 1865; the story had apparently migrated westward in community memory. Mrs. S. C. Beckwith, leader of the association, responded tersely, “I regret that I was unable to gather any official information in answer to this.”
Beckwith may or may not have known about the 1865 event; her own “official” story had become quite different and had no place for the former slaves’ march on their masters’ racecourse. In the struggle over memory and meaning in any society, some stories just get lost while others attain mainstream recognition.
AS we mark the Civil War’s sesquicentennial, we might reflect on Frederick Douglass’s words in an 1878 Memorial Day speech in New York City, in which he unwittingly gave voice to the forgotten Charleston marchers.
He said the war was not a struggle of mere “sectional character,” but a “war of ideas, a battle of principles.” It was “a war between the old and the new, slavery and freedom, barbarism and civilization ... and in dead earnest for something beyond the battlefield.” With or against Douglass, we still debate the “something” that the Civil War dead represent.
The old racetrack is gone, but an oval roadway survives on the site in Hampton Park, named for Wade Hampton, former Confederate general and the governor of South Carolina after the end of Reconstruction. The old gravesite of the Martyrs of the Race Course is gone too; they were reinterred in the 1880s at a national cemetery in Beaufort, S.C.
But the event is no longer forgotten. Last year I had the great honor of helping a coalition of Charlestonians, including the mayor, Joseph P. Riley, dedicate a marker to this first Memorial Day by a reflecting pool in Hampton Park.
By their labor, their words, their songs and their solemn parade on their former owners’ racecourse, black Charlestonians created for themselves, and for us, the Independence Day of a Second American Revolution.
David W. Blight, a professor of history and the director of the Gilder Lehrman Center for the Study of Slavery, Resistance and Abolition at Yale, is the author of the forthcoming “American Oracle: The Civil War in the Civil Rights Era.”
Two arrested after friend has bad pot-brownie experience
Two Iowa City women were arrested for possession of marijuana Wednesday night after their friend ingested some and had a bad experience.
According to Iowa City Police criminal complaints, officers and medical personnel were called to 19 Pentire Circle at 9:53 p.m. for a report of a female who “ate brownies with cannabis.” The woman’s heart was racing, police said.
Iowa City Police Sgt. Denise Brotherton said the paperwork on the charges has not been turned in by the arresting officers, but based on the call for service, it appears there were at least 9 people at the residence, including the caller.
When officers arrived, medical personnel were assisting a woman who said she ate pot-laced brownies. Police said two other women – 19-year-old Tearra N. Thomas and 18-year-old Alexis C. Riley – said they also ate some of the brownies, but were feeling fine. Thomas allegedly told officers she bought the brownies in Illinois and knew they contained marijuana.
Officers seized the remainder of the two brownies and took Riley and Thomas into custody for possession of a controlled substance, a serious misdemeanor.
Brotherton said it’s uncertain if the woman who had the bad experience will be charged since it’s possible she didn’t know she was ingesting marijuana.
“The other two knew (the brownies) were there and had them in their possession,” Brotherton said.
Thomas declined to comment on the charge. Riley did not return a message seeking comment.
Alexis Christine Riley
Tearra Nichole Thomas
Don't need that gun? Trade it for gas
Des Moines Register
The Waterloo Police Department will be on hand to receive the guns, and Lind said "no questions will be asked."
Citizens who trade in a functioning handgun will receive a gift card worth $150. Those who trade in a functioning rifle or shotgun will get a gift card worth $100.
Lind, a Republican who represented Waterloo in the Iowa Senate from 1986 until his abrupt resignation in 1997 in a dispute over tax policy, said: "I'm not a gun control advocate. I believe in the right to bear arms. I just want to get bad guns off the street."
Lind said he got the idea after reading an article in a trade journal about a similar promotion in Baton Rouge, La., last October that yielded about 250 guns.
"They gave away about $25,000 worth of gas in Baton Rouge, but I don't have that kind of bank account," said Lind, who will donate $5,000 worth of gas gift cards at his station in return for weapons.
The event will take place for the duration of the listed times, or until the gift cards run out.
Waterloo police officers will conduct the gun exchange. All firearms, muzzleloaders, air guns, and ammunition will be accepted. However, only functioning handguns, rifles, and shotguns will be eligible for the gift card exchange.
Hospital worker may have exposed almost 700 patients to TB
A hospital employee with tuberculosis may have exposed as many as 680 patients and 100 hospital workers at Emory University Hospital to the bacterial disease. (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Public Health Image Library)
3:37 p.m. EDT, May 27, 2011
Rats! Much-hated rodent has growing fan club in New York City
SPECIAL TO THE NEWS
Saturday, May 28th 2011, 4:00 AM
While most New Yorkers have a hate-hate relationship with the ubiquitous street rodents, a surprising number say the domestic creatures make perfect companions.
After all, rats are very intelligent, can be trained like dogs and are clean like cats. The social creatures are also expressive, able to bond and very playful.
So says Raquel Citron, longtime rat enthusiast and organizer of the N.Y.C. Rat Meetup Group, which boasts a robust membership of 425 local rat fanciers.
Rats are "very misunderstood," Citron said, noting that to know one is to love one. "The rat is as much a part of us as your dog is a part of you and your family. We love them, and we feel love back."
In fact, whenever Citron walks into her Manhattan apartment, her pink-eyed white rats, Gina and Becky, jump up and down and run to greet her.
Citron rescued her first rat 18 years ago from a university laboratory, where she grew cells for human cancer research. She has since had dozens of rat companions, and works to educate the public and facilitate rat rescues around the country.
The average pet rat is 6 inches long, has a 6-inch tail and weighs less than a pound. Females breed year-round and can have 20 or more babies at a time. In the wild, rats naturally become aggressive and learn to bite as they compete with other rats for food.
Rats only live an average of two to three years, with death often brought on by respiratory infections or tumors. But Manhattan artist Dani Wilbert believes that rats can live longer with proper nutrition.
"I had a rat that lived six years," said Wilbert, whose paintings and sculptures are inspired by her love for the species.
Her four pet rats - and newborn litter of six - eat a diet of veggies and "superfoods" that she believes reduce the risk of disease.
She is also a big proponent of rescuing rats from pet stores, breeders and shelters.
Last year, 16 pet rats landed at NYC Animal Care & Control Shelters. Rescue groups take most of them out of the shelters and find them homes.
Writer Mil Scott and her husband rescued their first rat, Molly, in 2005, when they stopped at a mailbox after a snowstorm and saw a shivering white creature gently digging in the dirt.
"Within minutes, we were charmed by her, and within hours utterly in love," Scott said.
Today, the couple share their Washington, N.J., home with 11 rats, including Dumbo-eared, pink-eyed whites and straight-eared Berkshires.
Molly has since passed on, but her loveliness inspired Scott to create The Rodent Reader Quarterly (rodentreader.com), a magazine that aims to communicate the positive nature of rats through literature and art. The magazine's Facebook page boasts 2,500 fans.
Other rat-friendly resources include the www.ratfanclub.org and the American Fancy Rat and Mouse Association at www.afrma.org.
Tomorrow, the rat-curious can head to the NYC Fancy Rat Convention for a rat fashion show, a rat showcase, education and a screening of Disney's "Ratatouille." The show is from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at 320 Studios, 320 W. 37th St., 14th floor, in Manhattan. Admission is $2 and free for kids under3.
No one's laughin' at these teachers: Educators busted for ethnic jokes in the classroom
Clare Trapasso and Rachel Monahan
DAILY NEWS WRITERS
Saturday, May 28th 2011, 4:00 AM
One assistant principal told "yo mama" jokes, a teacher called rowdy students the "Taliban" and another educator tried to pass a racial slur off as humor, Department of Education investigative reports show.
Queens Junior High School 8 teacher David Butler admitted to investigators he tried to shush a class by saying "Be quiet, you Taliban" and "Stop talking, you border jumpers," the report shows.
He meant it "playfully," he told investigators, and didn't direct it at anyone in particular group because the class included students of "various nationalities," the report said.
Butler, who couldn't be reached for comment, had a letter put in his official file.
Nearly a dozen 2009 investigative reports from the city Department of Education Office of Equal Opportunity were released yesterday in response to media requests.
The reports chronicled bias and sexual remarks made by teachers and staff to students, parents and other staffers.
Assistant Principal Lyle Walford of Brooklyn's High School for Public Service got in hot water for telling "yo mama" jokes in a black literature class.
"I said at one time that it was a significant part of black culture," he said, noting the course also covered weightier subjects like the civil rights movement.
He even gave a reporter an example of a joke yesterday, saying, "Your mother's so dumb she tried to alphabetize M&M's."
Walford said a disgruntled teacher turned him in, but he understood that his comments had caused offense.
"I can't debate someone's perception. I have no defense for her perception," he said, noting he'd agreed to sensitivity training to settle charges.
Substitute teacher Zsuzsanna Csecke at Newtown High School in Queens called a student the n-word, investigators said.
She denies ever using the offensive term, except to direct students not to say it. Yesterday, she called the incident a misunderstanding since she was not born in the U.S.
"[The students] knew that I was a foreigner. They were trying to get me to say it," she said. "I'm not a racist. I have many black students who like me. This word doesn't mean the same to me as to Americans."
Agency officials put a letter in her file and sent her for training.
Armando Cataldi, who formerly taught at Brooklyn Tech, was fined $10,000 for proposing "group sex" to fellow teachers as well as regaling them with tales of his own sexual exploits. He works at Life Academy High School for Film and Music in Brooklyn.
Cataldi did not return a call seeking comment.
‘Grandma Bandit,' now known to be a ‘Grampa' killed after police chase
Bill Rankin and Rhonda Cook
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
9:04 p.m. Friday, May 27, 2011
The puffy-faced, middle-aged woman at the CVS checkout counter opened a black purse and showed the clerk a rusty gun. She said she was sorry, that she was dying of cancer and had no choice.
Roxanne Taylor's string of drugstore robberies -- daring heists that earned her the nickname "Grandma Bandit" -- ended Friday morning after she was fatally shot following a police chase. It was unclear if she died by her own hand or was killed by police, who fired multiple times after hearing a gunshot, authorities said. The DeKalb County Medical Examiner's Office could not be reached Friday, and authorities were unable to confirm whether Taylor indeed had a terminal disease.
Authoritieswere however able to make another determination about the bandit later Friday. In a tersely worded statement, DeKalb police spokeswoman Mekka Parish wrote
Positive identification has been made on the person involved in todays incident on North Druid Hills. After further investigation detectives have determined the person believed to be a female suspect in fact is a male.
His name is Roxanne Taylor, a 57 year old man.
No additional information is available.
Taylor did not look like the typical armed robber -- the jittery young male with a stocking cap or hoodie pulled down low.
Instead, the 57-year-old holder of a helicopter pilot's license lived in a trendy loft near the state Capitol. Wearing dark sunglasses and a black University of Georgia ball cap, he had walked up to the checkout counters of at least seven metro pharmacies in recent weeks, exposed the handgun and demanded cash, police said.
There were differing opinions all along on whether the bandit was a woman or a man dressed as a woman.
An employee of a Rite Aid pharmacy on Ponce de Leon that was robbed May 14 described Taylor as a skinny man with large cheek bones who was dressed as a woman and who walked around the store for about a half hour before coming inside, an Atlanta police report said.
It was during a May 20 robbery of a CVS on Cheshire Bridge Road that Taylor told the cashier he had cancer, another police report said.
Ron Hunter, a criminology professor at Georgia Gwinnett College, said it is extremely rare for middle-aged women to be committing violent crimes. "And people who do armed robberies during the daylight hours are a little more bolder, more brazen -- not a 58-year-old female.”
Asked Friday night if there was any further explanation on how they determined Taylor was a man, Parish said, "We know the legal name was Roxanne. All indications we had early on was that he appeared to be female; it wasn't until further investigation that we determined he was a man."
Hunter, a former Tallahassee police sergeant, said he is eager to learn whether Taylor actually had cancer. "Someone who commits this kind of crime is also someone who will most likely lie," he said.
But if Taylor did have a terminal disease, that could explain the reckless conduct, Hunter said.
"If she was broke, she knows she doesn't have much time left and she just doesn't care," he said. "There is also 'suicide by cop.' It's someone who's desperate and wants to end their life and thinks they can't do it themselves so they'll put themselves in a situation where they force someone else to do it."
According to police, Taylor struck at least four pharmacies in Atlanta and three in DeKalb, taking $89 to $350. "Just give me the money and be quiet," he told a clerk during a robbery Tuesday at the Rite Aid pharmacy on Howell Mill Road, an incident report said.
This week, surveillance photos showing Taylor inside a number of pharmacies were made public.
On Friday morning, as Taylor sat in a gold Jeep Liberty at a Wendy's drive-through on Piedmont Road, he was spotted by someone who had seen the photos and notified Atlanta police. Officers tried to stop Taylor after he left the restaurant, but Taylor fled, leading police on a chase up Interstate 85 northbound, authorities said.
Taylor took the North Druid Hills Road exit, hit another car, then was confronted by APD officers, who had been notified he could be armed and dangerous, APD spokesman Carlos Campos said.
The officers who had been pursuing Taylor heard a gunshot and returned fire, hitting Taylor a number of times, DeKalb spokeswoman Parish said. Neither of the officers, whose names have not been disclosed, were injured. Taylor could be seen slumped over in the Jeep car, its driver's side window blown out, as police inspected the crime scene.
Court records show Taylor was having financial problems last fall. In September, the company that owned Mattress Lofts, where he lived, began the process of evicting him. It also filed a motion in Fulton County Magistrate Court, saying he owed $2,133.
According to business records, Taylor once worked for Atlanta Aviation Graphics in an office-and-warehouse complex near Grant Park. But the property owner said Friday the company left the space at least two years ago.
Federal Aviation Administration records show that Taylor received a pilot's license in 1977 and was certified to fly helicopters in 2001. In 2006, Taylor updated his FAA medical certificate, which is required every five years.
Staff writers Mike Morris and Kristi E. Swartz contributed to this article.
LINK TO PHOTOS:
Porter: The decision to raise baby Storm without a gender stokes parental insecurity
Baby Storm with father David Stocker in Toronto. Storm, who is 4 months old, is being raised as genderless. Photo taken on May 7, 2011.Steve Russell/Toronto Star
Storm’s parents have hit a nerve.
They’ve been called “selfish,” “irresponsible,” “reprehensible,” “profoundly ignorant” and child abusers, all because they don’t want you or anyone else to know whether their 4-month-old baby has a vagina or a penis.
The story, written by the Star’s Jayme Poisson, has received more hits and vitriol than any other story ever published on thestar.com.
Well, sex always sells, and gender is the moment’s hot-button issue. Maybe Storm’s parents, Kathy Witterick and David Stocker, will prove themselves revolutionary, and 40 years from now high school students will perceive the current maelstrom as we now do the interracial romance Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner — quaint and archaic.
But I think there’s more at play than cultural obstinacy. Something more personal. My bet? Witterick and Stocker’s decision triggers our insecurities as parents.
Somewhere deep beneath the wrath lurks a muffled voice that wonders: “Am I too controlling of my kids?”
Let’s go back to those adjectives. Who was the last parent to be derided as a selfish, reprehensible child abuser? Ah yes, Tiger Mother Amy Chua, whose book championed the polar opposite approach to parenting. While Witterick and Stocker promote total freedom and exploration for their children, Chua extols control and duty. Storm’s parents let their two older boys pick their own clothes at 18 months. Chua forced her 4-year-old to practise piano for three hours a day and threatened to burn all her stuffed animals if she didn’t play “perfectly.”
Beneath your horror, deep down, a voice whispers: “Should I have pushed my kids harder to excel?”
The Mommy Wars continue to rage, fuelled by our insecurities and the mounting scientific studies that reveal, mostly, how damaging we are to our children. (My recent favourite: stressed-out parents cause their children to have more flus and colds.) Parents used to mimic what their parents did. Now, we have hundreds of experts telling us hundreds of contradictory things. We choose our poison, and then defend it militantly.
And we feel threatened by anyone who’s taken a different tack.
Storm’s parents aren’t winging it. They have an expert of their own — Alfie Kohn, an American writer and education critic. I tried to get his book, Unconditional Parenting, from the public library, but a waiting list was sparked by last weekend’s story about Storm. So, I bought the second last copy from Indigo Books.
Unconditional parents, Kohn posits, raise authentic, confident humans instead of drones by drawing on fountains of patience and unconditional love. Your kid screams his head off? You don’t send him to his room for a time-out, which Kohn calls solitary confinement.
Instead, you approach the situation as a “teachable moment” and try to uncover the root of your child’s anger. Instead of instilling a “mindless obedience” to your rules, you involve your kids in writing them.
There’s no carrot either — by giving your son a sticker for peeing in the potty, you are polluting his inner volition and teaching him to do things only for approval, Kohn says.
As a parent, he says, you should address the whole child all the time, and not just his or her behaviour.
I managed 100 pages, out of duty for this column.
I salute Witterick and Stocker. The path they’ve chosen as parents sounds just as exhausting as Chua’s, who studied treatises on violin technique when not sitting in on all three hours of her daughter’s violin lessons every Saturday.
They, too, are über-parents.
They, too, think the stakes are high. If Chua’s daughters didn’t get scholarships to Harvard “and perform virtuoso duets for the Supreme Court justices,” she would have failed as a parent.
For Storm’s parents, if the baby’s gender was decided for him or her, it presumably could smother the child’s authentic self, and cause depression down the road. Kohn says children who experience “love withdrawal” through time-outs “tend to have lower self-esteem. They display signs of poorer emotional health overall and may even be more apt to engage in delinquent acts.”
In the end, it comes down to control — controlling what our kids become, or what they don’t become.
I think Storm will turn out just fine, like most kids do. He’ll look at his penis at some point and look at his dad’s, and announce he is a boy. Or she’ll look at her vagina and her mother’s, and declare she is a girl.
Then she’ll put on some brown corduroys and rain boots, and rush outside to play.
Uniontown ice cream truck drivers have frosty battle
Posted: Friday, May 27, 2011 2:00 am | Updated: 11:10 pm, Thu May 26, 2011.
Turf wars have become commonplace in many aspects of American culture.
Rival gangs will battle for control of an area or their “turf.”
Football players wage a battle for actual turf each and every game.
Even branches of the U.S. government often wage turf wars over control of governmental actions.
But who would have guessed that such an entrenched battle could be waged over frozen treats and the merry music-making trucks that deliver them to children during the summer?
That was the question that left Uniontown police officers scratching their heads Wednesday evening after an apparent turf war between two ice cream truck drivers working in Uniontown escalated to the point where police were summoned.
Patrolman Thomas Kolencik said that police were notified shortly after 6?p.m. that two ice cream truck drivers operating in Uniontown were not doing their best to show good humor to one another.
Kolencik said that he spoke to the wife of one of the drivers who reported that another ice cream truck driver tried to run her husband’s truck off the road on Hortense Street.
Kolencik said that he was able to talk to the suspect ice cream proprietor who told police that it was actually the other driver who had forced him off the road and that it wasn’t the first frosty encounter between the two.
The driver told police that he had pulled up next to the other man’s truck and simply said hello but was greeted with an expletive.
Meanwhile the other driver’s wife said that the ongoing war between the popsickle pedlars was caused by the man police interviewed and cited numerous incidents involving the man’s alleged actions, Kolencik said.
In the end, Kolencik said that he warned both drivers that they need to try and get along so that they could each continue to sell their sundaes in the city.
“I talked with both drivers and instructed them that if the incidents continue, the city will have to explore revoking their permits,” Kolencik said.
Neither man’s identity was released as charges were not filed.
Investigators: Polk deputy tied naked children to desk, beat them with paddle
Robin Leigh Pagoria, 45, faces child abuse, child pornography charges.
Robin Leigh Pagoria, 45, faces child abuse, child pornography charges. Pagoria has been a Polk County detention deputy for almost six years. (Polk County Sheriff's Office / May 26, 2011)
7:54 p.m. EDT, May 26, 2011
Lawyer offended by claim he used busty paralegal to distract jury: It was his 'over-qualified' wife
DAILY NEWS STAFF WRITER
Friday, May 27th 2011, 4:00 AM
Parent ignores trespass orders, arrested at Grayson school
D. Aileen Dodd
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
A Starling Elementary School parent was arrested on several charges, including felony obstruction of a law enforcement officer and criminal trespass, after she came to see her child’s Field Day competition, ignoring school edicts to stay off campus.
“The school had had multiple issues with her in terms of not following directions,” said Sloan Roach, Gwinnett Schools spokeswoman. “The parent has a history of disrupting the school. She would attempt to enter the building without signing in. The principal has attempted to address this with this parent throughout this year.’’
A mugshot of Swilley showed her with a bloodied lip. Swilley's husband, who wouldn't identify himself when reached at home, said the family had no comment.
Roach said arrests and trespass warnings are rare at Gwinnett Schools. Last fall, however, a Lawrenceville mom was issued a similar warning after she aggressively advocated for her Mason Elementary student with disabilities and violated school rules.
Swilley faces charges for criminal trespass, remaining on school property without cause, obstruction of a law enforcement officer and disruption of a public school, according to Gwinnett's Roach.
Swilley had appealed to Gwinnett school board members that she needed help during public comment at the monthly board meeting. She said her daughter was having trouble at Starling. Swilley also said she had had problems with the staff, but still wanted to attend school events.
On Wednesday, Swilley dropped off her daughter at school and was told she could not be on campus, but the woman returned at 9 a.m. and went to Field Day anyway, Roach said.
“Both the principal and police … provided multiple opportunities for her to leave without incident and she refused,” Roach said. “When a police officer asks you to do something, you need to do it.”
A scuffle ensued as police tried to arrest Swilley, and the woman and officers who tried to arrest her received minor injuries, Roach said.
“She resisted arrest,” Roach said. “She was transported to jail.”
Swilley later was released on a $9,600 bond, Gwinnett County Detention Center officials said late Wednesday.
Starling Principal Donna Ledford sent out a note to inform other parents of the public Field Day incident.
In her statement, Ledford said, "I am dismayed that students and parents had to witness this parent's behavior, her disregard for school officials and law enforcement officers, and her subsequent arrest. Both I and the police officers attempted to handle this situation in a manner that would have allowed this parent to leave the school on her own."
Burlington police investigate a mugging that wasn't
A woman called 911 Saturday and lied about being mugged to draw Burlington police away from a friend’s party, according to police.
Christina Macaulay, 21, made the false report at about 1:30 a.m., while Officer Kimberly Edwards was issuing Macaulay’s friend a ticket for unreasonable noise at a party on North Union Street, police said.
Several officers responded to the intersection of North Street and North Union Street — where Macaulay said she had been mugged — found no one and presumed Macaulay may “have been incapacitated or even abducted by her so-called attacker,” police said in a prepared statement.
Police said when they located Macaulay an hour later, she claimed a man stole her purse and dropped it when she gave chase. When interviewed later by investigators, Macaulay said she lied about the mugging, police said.
Macaulay pleaded not guilty to one count of obstruction of justice during her arraignment Tuesday in Vermont Superior Court in Burlington.
Her friend, Benjamin Eddington, 22, of Waltham received a ticket for unreasonable noise.
Edwards responded to the party after someone called police to report loud music coming from the North Union Street residence.
Christina Macaulay, 21, of Burlington pleaded not guilty to an obstruction of justice charge at Vermont Superior Court in Burlington on Tuesday. / EMILY McMANAMY, Free Press
New Zealand truck driver Steven McCormack nearly pops after getting air hose lodged in buttocks
DAILY NEWS STAFF WRITER
Wednesday, May 25th 2011, 7:19 AM
Steven McCormack says he is "lucky to be alive" after the bizarre accident on Saturday landed him in intensive care at a hospital in Whakatane, on the North Island's east coast.
"I felt the air rush into my body and I felt like I was going to explode," he told 3News in New Zealand on Tuesday.
The 48-year-old was at Waiotahi Contractors where he worked, standing on the rigging between his truck and the trailer when he slipped and fell.
He landed on the hose connected to the semi's airbrakes and broke it. The nozzle pierced his left buttocks and air from the tanks pumped into his body at 100 pounds per square inch.
"I was blowing up like a football," he said. "I had no choice but just to lay there, blowing up like a balloon."
The air separated his fat from his muscles, doctors said. It quickly filled his body, inflating his leg, chest and face. The pressure also caused his lungs to fill with fluid and compressed his heart.
"He became more and more distressed, and his whole body... started to swell," said Robbie Petersen, McCormack's boss.
McCormack screamed for help, and co-workers removed him from the nozzle after nearly half of the air in the tank had been pumped into him.
Emergency personnel arrived nearly an hour later, but his condition made helping him difficult.
"They went to put a drip in me, but when they put the needle in, [the air] spit the needle out," he said.
The freak accident left McCormack's skin crackling with air bubbles. Although doctors were able to extract the excess fluids, the truck driver was forced to release the air in the only way possible.
"You can't turn a tap on and let it out," he told 3News. "You just have to burp it out, or fart it out."
McCormack as since recovered, but it took nearly three days for him to return to his normal size.
Disabled man crawls from jail after his wheelchair is lost
Portland police arrested 37-year-old Scott Hamilton on Sunday evening for sitting--drinking a beer on public property. He was wanted on an earlier arrest warrant for the same offense, so officers took him into custody, giving him a receipt for the wheelchair.
Hamilton is missing a leg after a car accident. He said he is also a Navy war veteran.
When he was released early Monday, his wheelchair was nowhere to be found. The Oregonian says Hamilton wound up scooting on his rear out through the jail lobby doors.
Wednesday aftrnoon, Hamilton was personally picked up by sheriff's deputies and reunited with his wheelchair. Hamilton says he deserves at least an apology and credit for time served.
Sheriff's chief deputy of corrections Mike Shults says it's not common practice for someone to crawl out of their custody.
Police spokesman Pete Simpson says the wheelchair was eventually located at the police property warehouse.
LINK TO PHOTO:
Wanted man caught when ceiling caves in
Tuesday, May 24, 2011
An Athens man who hid in an attic to avoid officers with a warrant for his arrest literally fell into their arms when the ceiling collapsed early Monday morning, Athens-Clarke police said.
Officers went to a home in the 100 block of Martin Court about 1:40 a.m. on information that 41-year-old James Vernard Smith was there, police said. A woman who answered the door at first denied Smith was there, but said he was in the attic after a witness reported seeing him smoking a cigarette on the back porch just before officers arrived.
The officers climbed up into the attic to get Smith, but he kept scuttling away until he was cornered, then broke out a roof vent to escape, according to police.
An officer subdued Smith by pepper-spraying him, and he was crawling toward the officers when the plasterboard below him gave way, and he fell partially through the ceiling. Officers helped lower Smith the ground and arrested him, police said.
Smith was charged with burglary, obstruction of a law enforcement officer, failure to appear in court, several motor vehicle violations and two counts of violating probation.
Report Finds Obama Policies to Blame for High Energy Prices
May 23, 2011 7:10 P.M.
Andre Stiles National Review On Line
A new report from the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform details a disturbing “pattern of evidence” indicating that not only are the Obama administration’s energy policies responsible for higher oil and gasprices, but that the administration’s energy policy, in fact, is higher gas prices.
The report’s findings are the result of an extensive committee review of public records, policy analysis, statements and e-mails from administration officials, and reveal “a pattern of actions [that] shows the Administration is, in fact, pursuing an agenda to raise the price Americans pay for energy,” according to a copy of the report obtained by National Review Online.
“What President Obama failed to accomplish through the so-called ‘cap and trade’ program, his administration is attempting to accomplish through regulatory roadblocks, energy tax increases, and other targeted efforts to prohibit development of domestic energy resources,” the report concludes.
Among the report’s key findings:
According to the report, the administration’s “concerted campaign” to keep energy prices high extends “across government agencies” and constitutes a complete disregard for governmental transparency, much less the pocketbooks of all of those affected by the increased cost of energy. “An effort to intentionally raise the costs of traditional energy sources is a dangerous strategy that will harm economic recovery and job growth,” the report asserts. “If past statements of key administration officials are indeed reflections of the policies they are pursuing, this strategy is playing a quiet but significant role in the higher energy prices Americans are currently paying.”
The committee is releasing the report in conjunction with a hearing Tuesday morning titled “Pain at the Pump: Policies that Suppress Domestic Production of Oil and Gas.” Members will hear testimony from Lisa Jackson, Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, and David Hayes, Deputy Secretary at the Department of the Interior. The hearing, designed to examine the harmful effects of government regulation on economic productivity, is part of the House Republican majority’s recent efforts to promote the “growth” portion of its “cut and grow” agenda.
Police say shoe shoplifter took carryout orders
An arrest report for 36-year-old Sean A. Harrington lists him as "not employed," but some may say that's debatable after reading the description of his alleged crimes. Police say he was caught stealing merchandise from Rack Room Shoes on S. Hurstbourne Pkwy., near Six Mile Lane, on Friday afternoon. According to the report, Harrington was allegedly, "concealing shoes down the front of his pants" and left the store without paying.
From there, he allegedly proceeded to a Marshalls clothing store, and allegedly stole clothing valued at $99.95.
Police eventually caught up with Harrington and arrested him.
When a security at Rack Room Shoes reviewed their surveillance records, they discovered that Harrington had stolen a total of $539.89 worth of goods from their store between April 17 and May 20.
Upon Harrington's arrest, police were able to examine his cell phone -- and they made a significant discovery. The arrest report states that the phone, "had numerous text messages of others ordering merchandise from [Harrington], who would then go out and steal specific items."
He was charged with receipt of stolen property and theft by unlawful taking.
Police say he has been banned from Rack Room Shoes, Marshalls and the shopping center at S. Hurstbourne Pkwy. and Six Mile Lane "told him he would be arrested for returning to the property."
California must cut prison population by 30,000
Chronicle Staff Writer
Tuesday, May 24, 2011
(05-23) 17:20 PDT WASHINGTON -- The U.S. Supreme Court ordered California on Monday to reduce the population of its jammed prisons by more than 30,000 in two years to repair a health care system that lower courts found was defying constitutional standards and endangering guards as well as inmates.
Federal judges rightly found that overcrowding in a prison system that has held nearly twice its designed capacity for more than a decade was the main cause of "grossly inadequate provision of medical and mental health care," the court said in a 5-4 ruling.
"Needless suffering and death have been the well-documented result," Justice Anthony Kennedy said in the majority opinion.
He cited evidence from two decades of litigation: mentally ill prisoners waiting up to a year for treatment, suicidal inmates held for 24 hours in phone booth-size cages without toilets, waiting lists of 700 inmates for a single doctor, and gyms converted into triple-bunked living quarters that breed disease, and violence victimizing guards and inmates alike.
A federal judge found in 2006 that shoddy prison health care in California was responsible for the death of one inmate a week, Kennedy noted.
"The medical and mental health care provided by California's prisons falls below the standard of decency that inheres in the Eighth Amendment," which bans cruel and unusual punishment, said Kennedy, joined by the court's more liberal justices.
Under the ruling, California's prison population of 143,000 must be reduced to 110,000 by mid-2013. Critics both on and off the bench forecast a wave of dangerous felons on the streets.
Justice Samuel Alito, in a dissent joined by Chief Justice John Roberts, said the majority was loosing "the equivalent of three Army divisions" of criminals and was "gambling with the safety of the people of California."
Assembly Republican leader Connie Conway of Tulare said Californians "could be at serious risk of becoming victims of crime ... as a result of this reckless and irresponsible decision."
But Gov. Jerry Brown's administration, while critical of the ruling, said the state could comply without releasing any dangerous criminals - if Republicans approve Brown's budget proposal to shift thousands of low-level offenders and parole violators from state prisons to county jails.
"If realignment is done quickly and fully as the governor proposed, it will solve this problem," said Matthew Cate, Brown's prison director. "Our goal is to not release inmates at all."
The California State Sheriffs Association chimed in, saying Brown's plan - as long as it is accompanied by more state funding for counties - is "a way to ensure this is not a massive release of prisoners."
But Republicans have opposed Brown's plan on two grounds: The governor wants to extend tax increases to pay for it, and it would arguably reduce punishment by allowing some felons to avoid state prison.
At the other end of the spectrum, the American Civil Liberties Union said the ruling should prompt the state to ease some of the nation's harshest sentencing laws by, for example, making it a misdemeanor instead of a felony to write a $450 bad check or possess drugs for personal use.
"California locks up too many people who pose no threat to public safety and keeps them locked up for too long," said Allen Hopper, an ACLU attorney in San Francisco.
Inmates claiming that prisons provided substandard mental health treatment first sued the state in 1990. They were joined in 2001 by prisoners suing over medical care.
A federal judge appointed a receiver to manage the health care system in 2006, saying state officials were unable to comply with constitutional standards. After a trial in 2009, a three-judge panel said the system could be repaired only if the state first addressed overcrowding. At the time, there were 156,000 inmates in a system designed for 80,000.
Reductions to date
While fighting the courts' authority to lower the prison population, state officials have responded to the litigation by making their own reductions.
Then-Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger declared an overcrowding "state of emergency" in 2006 and transferred nearly 10,000 prisoners to other states. He also acted with lawmakers to speed up the releases of some low-risk inmates and stop returning parolees to prison for minor violations.
In upholding the panel's order, the Supreme Court said California's "serious constitutional violations ... have persisted for years. They remain uncorrected."
Kennedy said the three-judge panel had heard expert testimony by former prison directors in California and other states that prison populations can be reduced in a way that "does not increase crime to a significant degree."
The court also upheld the panel's two-year deadline for lowering the prison population but said state officials might ask the three judges for more time - five years, for example - because of "changing political, economic and other circumstances."
Cate said the Brown administration would seek an extension "if that's what public safety requires."
The ruling in Brown vs. Plata, 09-1233 can be read at links.sfgate.com/ZKZF:
Chronicle staff writer Marisa Lagos contributed to this report.
Trenton 12-year-old boy is accused of armed robbery on city street
Published: Monday, May 23, 2011, 1:17 PM
Updated: Monday, May 23, 2011, 1:23 PM
TRENTON – Trenton police have arrested a 12-year-old boy accused in an armed robbery Sunday afternoon on Hoffman Avenue.
The robbery occurred just before 5 p.m., when the 27-year-old victim was approached by the youth, police said. The 12-year-old pulled out a handgun and told the victim to “give it up,” according to police.
The victim surrendered a T-Mobil cell phone and $13 cash, and the suspect took off running toward the Roger Gardens apartments.
Detective Wilfredo Rodriguez was called out to take the case, and during his investigation learned the identity of the suspect, police said. Rodriguez arrived at the 12 year old’s home, where he found the boy and a .22-caliber revolver with the serial number filed off, police said.
Police filed juvenile petitions against the child for armed robbery and weapons offenses. His name was not released because he is under 18.
Man sentenced for hot cocoa robbery
Gazette Staff The Billings Gazette | Posted: Friday, May 20, 2011 2:45 pm
A man who threw hot cocoa on a convenience store clerk during a robbery was sentenced Friday to Montana State Prison.
An agitated Michael Richard Barreca was ordered to spend 10 years in prison for the Dec. 10 robbery at the Zip Trip store on Shiloh Road.
District Judge Ingrid Gustafson ordered Barreca to serve a concurrent 10-year sentence for an unrelated casino theft.
The judge also ordered Barreca to pay a total of $10,514 in restitution for both crimes.
Before he was sentenced, Barreca, 31, angrily proclaimed that he had fired his public defender and wanted to withdraw his guilty pleas.
Gustafson said the time to make such a motion had passed, and Barreca could raise his legal issues in an appeal.
At the time of the robbery, Barreca was awaiting sentencing for stealing about $6,500 from the Alpine Casino on 16th Street West on Aug. 25. Barreca worked at the casino as a cook, but had given his two-week notice before the theft.
LINK TO VIDEO:
May 23, 2011
"Boy, girl or both?"
California Catholic Daily
Oakland elementary school teaches pupils there are more than two genders
Today and tomorrow, Redwood Heights Elementary School in Oakland will be teaching children from kindergarten through fifth grade that there are more than two genders, Pacific Justice Institute reports.
In a press release, Pacific Justice Institute provided the following details:
The two days calendared for this are entitled "Gender Spectrum Diversity Training." In documents released by the school, students will be taught that "gender is not inherently nor solely connected to one's physical anatomy." Further, gender is a "complex interrelationship between (physical traits) and one's internal sense of self as male, female, both or neither as well as one's outward presentations and behaviors related to that perception."
Another document from the school advises parents: "When you discuss gender with your child, you may hear them exploring where they fit on the gender spectrum and why."
The activities and reading list include: Grades K-1: "Boy, girl or both? Which Outfit, Which Hairdo? (Reading) My Princess Boy." Grades 2-3: "What is gender? (Reading) 10,000 Dresses." Grades 4-5: "Three dimensions of gender. (Reading/Song) All I Want to be is Me."
"This instruction does not represent the values of the majority of families in Oakland," said attorney Kevin Snider of the Pacific Justice Institute. PJI has been providing legal counsel to parents in the Oakland Unified School District on this matter. "Though to many this may seem extreme, based upon some of the bills now pending in the Capitol such as SB 48, this will be the new normal in California's K-12 public schools," Snider continued.
At this point, it is not known if this is the only campus in the Oakland Unified School District that offers gender diversity training for children.
“Unfortunately, many parents in the school are unaware that this is being taught,” said the news release. “If you are a parent of a child enrolled in a school where this instruction is taking place, you may consider keeping your child home on days when this material is being presented. Please contact the PJI Legal Department if you are a parent and have questions about truancy or absence issues with your child.”
May 23, 2011
Vice President Joe Biden surprised a gathering of donors in Cincinnati last week when he floated the prospect of his succeeding President Barack Obama in the White House.
Biden, who started in the Senate young and would be just 70 in 2012, raised the possibility unprompted during a wide-ranging conversation at the May 19 dinner with major Democratic Party donors, a source in the room said.
The Vice President, who has never ruled in or out running in six years, told the group he hadn't made up his mind, and cited both political conditions and his own health as relevant factors.
But the spontaneous suggestion caught the attention of at least some in the audience, said the guest, "given he volunteered that without prompting...and given the audience."
A crop of Democrats already appear to be eyeing the subsequent presidential contest, including New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley, and Virginia Senator Mark Warner; a sitting Vice President would utterly change the circumstances in a race that is, in any event, too far off to imagine, and whose contours depend most of all on whether Obama wins re-election.
A spokeswoman for Biden declined to comment on the exchange.
Penny Johnson, British businesswoman, receives $9.7 million for botched plastic surgery
DAILY NEWS STAFF WRITER
Monday, May 23rd 2011, 1:16 PM
Penny Johnson, a part-owner of a financial and IT consultant business, said her face was constantly contracting and she had a permanent buzzing around her eye, after the 2003 operation, the BBC reported.
As a result of the botched surgery, she lost her business - and became a recluse who wouldn't socialize with their close friends anymore, her husband said.
"Their marriage has survived, but the claimant said in evidence that she is no longer a wife to her husband," the judge said in is ruling.
"He says that she is now a completely different person and that their marriage is not what it used to be."
The judge also noted that Johnson formerly was a happy and outstandingly successful woman.
The doctor, Le Roux Fourie, denied the surgery was experimental, but admitted liability in the case.
The case is far from the first plastic surgery horror story to serve as a cautionary tale.
This year, a New Jersey woman received a $115,000 settlement from her plastic surgeon after a procedure left her unable to fully close her eyes.
Harold Camping 'flabbergasted'; rapture a no-show
Chronicle Staff WriterSan Francisco Chronicle
Monday, May 23, 2011
Brant Ward / The Chronicle
David Eller speaks to atheists at Oakland's Masonic Center, where they gathered to mark Harold Camping's failed prediction of the end-time.
(05-22) 19:18 PDT ALAMEDA -- The man who said the world was going to end appeared at his front door in Alameda a day later, very much alive but not so well.
"It has been a really tough weekend," said Harold Camping, the 89-year-old fundamentalist radio preacher who convinced hundreds of his followers that the rapture would occur on Saturday at 6 p.m.
Massive earthquakes would strike, he said. Believers would ascend to heaven and the rest would be left to wander a godforsaken planet until Oct. 21, when Camping promised a fiery end to the world.
But on Sunday, almost 18 hours after he thought he'd be in heaven, there was Camping, "flabbergasted" in Alameda, wearing tan slacks, a tucked-in polo shirt and a light jacket.
Birds chirped. A gentle breeze blew. Across the street, neighbors focused on their yard work and the latest neighborhood gossip.
"I'm looking for answers," Camping said, adding that meant frequent prayer and consultations with friends.
"But now I have nothing else to say," he said, closing the door to his home. "I'll be back to work Monday and will say more then."
Camping's followers will surely be listening.
"I'm not as disappointed as everyone since I didn't fully believe him," said one, who asked to remain anonymous Sunday because he worried he would be shunned for admitting he was "upset" with Camping.
The middle-aged Oakland resident said he'd been listening to Camping since 1993, when he said the world would end in 1994.
That was strike one, the man said. And this is strike two. Even so, he said, that doesn't mean the message is wrong.
"I just know he's biblically sound," the man said. "I've never been one of these guys who think everything he says is true.
"I don't think I am going to stop listening to him," the man added, heaving a deep sigh before continuing: "I don't know, I gotta listen to him on Monday, see what he says on the radio."
Outside Camping's compound near the Oakland airport, which was locked and dark on Sunday, a different religious group waited for dejected believers.
"I would encourage them not to lose their faith because they listened to a wolf in sheep's clothing, and Jesus said there would be wolves in sheep's clothing," said Jackie Alnor.
Alnor, a resident of Hayward who blogs about the rapture, said Camping had twisted the word of God by trying to predict the end. Only God knows when the world will end, she said.
"He's in big trouble with God," she said.
If that isn't bad enough, she said, Camping's false prophecy could have bigger impacts on religion.
"It's given people who hate Christianity an excuse to hate it even more," she said. "People can just paint with broad brush strokes."
Across town, a group of atheists gathered in Oakland's Masonic Center to observe the promised rapture in their own way.
"The issue is the Bible is mythology," said Larry Hicok, state director of the American Atheists, bluntly laying out his case.
Roughly 200 people attended the hastily scheduled conference to discuss the impact of organized religion on American culture.
"Every ruler needs a religion," Hicok said. "Everybody knows that's the way you get power."
He said too many followers of religion get lost in the details of their particular belief.
"Maybe the constant is love, and the rest of it you can let go of," he said.
Crime rate will rise without NFL season, Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis says
DAILY NEWS STAFF WRITER
Sunday, May 22nd 2011, 7:33 PM
If the NFL and NFLPA can't come to an agreement in their labor dispute, one Baltimore Ravens' veteran believes society as a whole will pay – because there will be more violent crime.
"Do this research if we don't have a season -- watch how much evil, which we call crime, watch how much crime picks up, if you take away our game," Ray Lewis told ESPN.
Lewis, the face of the Ravens franchise who is considered a spiritual leader in the league, has dealt with his own fair share of crime.
Now deeply involved in the Charm City community, Lewis was once convicted of obstruction of justice in a 2000 murder trial in Atlanta.
If the NFL is on hiatus, he said, fans won't have anything else to do but get into trouble.
"There's too many people that live through us, people live through us," he said. "Yeah, walk in the streets, the way I walk the streets, and I'm not talking about the people you see all the time."
With the lockout now in its 68th day, there doesn't seem to be much movement on either side. A decision last week by the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals gave team owners a slight boost, keeping the lockout in place at least temporarily.
The next hearing is scheduled for June 3.
The last NFL strike was in 1987 and lasted for 24 days. It is not clear if crime increased during that time.
Ohio pair serve time in pool for rafting offense
Michael Allen Blair / AP
PAINESVILLE, Ohio — A northeast Ohio couple found themselves up to their ankles in trouble for rafting on a flood-swollen river without life preservers and lying about it afterward.
A judge sentenced them to stand in a tiny swimming pool while wearing life jackets and handing out water safety brochures Saturday at a festival in Painesville, 30 miles northeast of Cleveland.
Twenty-year-old Grace Nash and 22-year-old Bruce Crawford pleaded guilty to misdemeanor misconduct during an emergency. Searchers spent hours looking for them last month after they were spotted on the Grand River. They made it to land but lied to an official about being in the water.
They chose the pool punishment and community service over 60 days in jail.
Nash tells The News-Herald in Willoughby they've learned their lesson
Man Calls 911 For Ride to Baby Mama's House
Fearful former girlfriend cries for help
1:24 p.m. CDT, May 22, 2011
Crook's surprised look caught on surveillance video after robbery: cops
DAILY NEWS STAFF WRITER
Sunday, May 22nd 2011, 3:17 PM
Surveillance video from Thursday night clearly caught the sticky-fingered gal creeping down the Astoria building's stairwell and hallway.
She ducked through a door, only to realize there were cameras keeping watch. Spooked, she then waved what appears to be a white T-shirt in front of her face in a lame attempt to conceal her identity.
Investigators say the black or Hispanic woman is somewhere between 30 and 40 years old. She was wearing a black and grey jacket, a black hooded sweatshirt, jeans and sneakers.
LINK TO VIDEO:
George W. Bush rakes in $15 million in speaking fees since leaving office: report
DAILY NEWS STAFF WRITER
Sunday, May 22nd 2011, 12:42 PM
Despite claims of keeping a low profile, W has been crisscrossing the globe over the past two years, giving talks at hundreds of events, conferences and forums – to anyone, it appears, willing to pony up for his reportedly boffo asking price.
No. 43's standard speaking fee is reportedly between $100,000 and $150,000, and Bush has delivered almost 140 paid talks since leaving the Oval Office, the Center for Public Integrity reported.
"I find it puzzling," Stanford University historian Robert Dallek told the center's iWatch News. "He says he wants to keep a low profile. What is he doing except enriching himself?
"It sounds like it's self-serving," he added. "It's following the good old American adage to make as much as you can."
Bush told GQ magazine in 2007 that he planned on hitting the speaker circuit, just like his old man, who he said made more than $50,000 to $75,000 a speech.
But he's also been adamant about his privacy, repeatedly snubbing invites to high profile events and keeping mum about his opinions of his successor, President Obama.
Earlier this month, Obama invited Bush to join him at a wreath-laying ceremony at Ground Zero after Osama Bin Laden was killed, but Bush declined, saying he wanted to stay out of the public eye.
Later that week, Bush gave a speech at a hedge fund conference in Las Vegas, a PGA event in Florida and a gathering of bankers from UBS in New York, according to iWatch News.
Bush's trips also include trips to China, Korea and Canada.
W isn't blazing any trails with his new gig as a multimillion-dollar MC; former Presidents Clinton, H.W. Bush and Reagan all gave talks for cash.
Clinton, in particular, takes the title of Gabber-in-Chief. Bubba reportedly earned $65 million in fees from 2001 to 2009, according to a review of Hillary Clinton's books.
Bush has agreed to speak at the ceremony at Ground Zero to mark the 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks, but he won't be paid for it.
Tea Party Favorite Herman Cain Joins 2012 GOP Race
May 21, 2011
Herman Cain announces his run for Republican candidate for president at a rally Saturday, May 21, 2011 in Atlanta. (AP)
Tea Party favorite Herman Cain announced his long-shot presidential candidacy to a raucous crowd in Atlanta Saturday, yelling, "I'm running for president of the United States and I'm not running for second."
At a rally attended by thousands, the businessman, author and talk radio show host showed he knows how to wow a conservative gathering. The crowd chanted, "Herman, Herman, Herman," as Cain unleashed the same soaring rhetoric and relentless attacks on President Obama that has created buzz in recent weeks.
"Let me tell you some of the reasons why I'm running for president of the United States.We have become a nation of crises," he said, citing morals, the economy, entitlement spending, immigration and foreign affairs as among the crises facing the nation.
"And we've got a deficiency of leadership crisis in the White House," he said to roaring cheers.
Now the 65-year-old Republican will see if he can use that grass-roots enthusiasm to turn a long-shot presidential campaign into a credible bid.
Cain has been introducing himself to voters during months of traveling around the country.
Cain supports a strong national defense, opposes abortion, backs replacing the federal income tax with a national sales tax and favors a return to the gold standard.
He's never held elected office, losing a three-way Republican U.S. Senate primary bid in Georgia in 2004 with one-quarter of the vote. His "Hermanator" political action committee has taken in just over $16,000 this year.
Cain says he's running "a bottoms-up, outside-the-box campaign." Supporters say he taps into the tea party-fueled desire for plain-speaking citizen candidates.
"I just love him," gushed Laura Miller, a self-described "Cainiac" from Jessup, Ga. "What he says makes so much sense."
Born in Memphis, Tenn., and raised in Atlanta, Cain is the son of a chauffeur and a maid. He attended historically black Morehouse College, earned a master's degree from Purdue University and worked as a mathematician for the Navy before beginning to scale the corporate ladder.
He worked at Coca-Cola, Pillsbury and Burger King before taking the helm of the failing Godfather's Pizza franchise, which he rescued by shuttering hundreds of restaurants.
He burst onto the political stage when he sparred with President Bill Clinton over the Democrat's health care plan at a 1994 town hall meeting.
"On behalf of all of those business owners that are in a situation similar to mine," asked Cain, "my question is, quite simply, if I'm forced to do this, what will I tell those people whose jobs I will have to eliminate?"
The late Jack Kemp, the GOP vice presidential nominee in 1996, once described Cain as having "the voice of Othello, the looks of a football player, the English of Oxfordian quality and the courage of a lion."
In 2006, Cain was diagnosed with liver and colon cancer. He says he's been cancer-free since 2007 and credits the nation's health care system with keeping him alive. He says it's one reason he's so opposed to the health overhaul championed by President Barack Obama.
At a speech last week in Macon, Ga., Cain gave a glimpse of the rationale for his candidacy. He said the American dream is under attack from runaway debt, a stagnant economy and a Democratic administration forcing a legislative agenda citizens don't want.
Oklahoma Woman Sells $30 Worth of Weed, Gets 12 Years In Prison
Woman flees Md. jail by kicking hole in wall
Friday, May 20, 2011 4:48 pm
Carroll County Times
The Garrett County sheriff says an inmate escaped from jail by kicking a hole through a wall.
Sheriff Rob Corley explained on Friday how 31-year-old Alisa Shafer of Friendsville escaped Thursday afternoon. Deputies apprehended her that evening.
Corley says Shafer kicked a hole through the half-inch drywall of a bathroom to escape from a holding area into the jail lobby. He says neither cameras nor correctional officers observed her as she turned her black-and-white-striped jail outfit inside-out and fled.
Corley says blueprints for the holding area do not specify such flimsy material. He says the poor construction is inexcusable.
Shafer had been arrested earlier Thursday on a second-degree assault charge.
Corley says no employees were at fault in the episode.
2 parents arrested after allegedly beating Detroit school principal, teachers, students
Chastity Pratt Dawsey
Detroit Free Press
Two parents were arrested today for allegedly beating up several students, teachers and the principal at a Detroit school, a school district official confirmed.
The mother and father of a student at Parker Elementary on the city’s west side arrived at the school today to follow up on an alleged fight involving their child, according to Jennifer Mrozowski, a spokeswoman for Detroit Public Schools.
“The parents grew upset, the situation escalated and the parents allegedly assaulted the principal, teachers and some students,” she said.
The mother and father were arrested on disorderly charges and an investigation is continuing. No serious physical injuries were reported.
“While this case is being investigated, DPS wants to make clear that we will bring down the full force of the law against anyone who comes into our schools, disrupts teaching and learning and threatens or harms our students or staff,” Mrozowski said.
|9:22 PM May 20, 2011
Police: Duluth man brings marijuana to jail
A Duluth man was arrested during a routine visit to the Gwinnett County Jail on Friday, after sheriff’s deputies noticed he smelled like marijuana and searched his vehicle.
LAWRENCEVILLE — A Duluth man was arrested during a routine visit to the Gwinnett County Jail on Friday, after sheriff’s deputies noticed he smelled like marijuana and searched his vehicle.
Jordan David Mendez, 19, arrived at the jail to “pick up the property of another inmate” Friday, sheriff’s department spokeswoman Stacey Bourbonnais said. As he entered, deputies reportedly “noticed an odor of marijuana emanating from him” and asked about it.
He confessed to smoking just before coming to the jail, Bourbonnais said, prompting a search of his vehicle.
“Deputies discovered 14 small baggies of marijuana inside his vehicle,” she said.
Mendez was arrested and charged with possession of marijuana with the intent to distribute and crossing the guard line with drugs.
Jail records show he is being held without bond.
Wrong Number, Suspicious Circumstances Lead to Drug Arrests
Both Brownwood and Early Police Departments were able to secure several drug related arrests recently by being alert and investigating suspicious circumstances, along with a little luck when one suspect dialed a wrong number – that of a police officer.
Brownwood Police netted a drug arrest on Wednesday, according to BPD officials, after a suspect dialed a Brownwood narcotics officer’s cell phone by mistake, offering him a chance to purchase drugs. Officials state that the male caller left a message stating that he had prescription drugs which he was willing to sell. In an undercover effort, the officer made arrangements to meet with the caller.
The suspect, identified as 51-year-old James Dunn, was accompanied by his wife, 64-year-old Bertha Dunn when they met the officer at the former Food Plaza building on Belle Plain. The solicitors wanted to trade the prescription drugs for marijuana, police said.
Assisted by Brown County Sheriff’s investigators and Brownwood patrol officers, the BPD narcotics officer arrested the couple and charged them with two counts of Delivery of a Dangerous Drug.
LINK TO PHOTOS:
Scared teen witness refuses to testify in murder trial so judge sends her to jail
Published: Thursday, May 19, 2011, 11:59 PM
Updated: Friday, May 20, 2011, 9:59 AM
Jessica Cheatteam was held in contempt of court Wednesday after she flatly refused to say in open court and in front of a jury that Michael Williams shot Terry Redmond on April 26, 2009, in Harvey's Scotsdale neighborhood, a claim she shared with Sheriff's Office detectives who were investigating the slaying two years ago.
Cheatteam, who was 13 years old when Redmond was shot several times, was sitting at the witness stand only feet from Williams, 18, while members of his family sat in the audience yards behind him.
Her refusal to testify led Judge June Darensburg of the 24th Judicial District Court to send the jury out of the courtroom and arrange for a public defender, Graham Bosworth, to provide legal advice to the teenager. But after conferring privately with Bosworth, Cheatteam again refused to testify.
"Are you refusing to testify and answer our questions?" asked Assistant District Attorney Sunny Funk, who is prosecuting Williams with David Hufft.
"That's correct," Cheatteam said.
Darensburg then found Cheatteam in contempt of court and sentenced her to six months in jail, the maximum for contempt. Cheatteam seemed unfazed as she was escorted out of court to the Rivarde Juvenile Detention Center in Harvey.
Cheatteam was back in Darensburg's court Thursday, shortly after the judge declared a mistrial because of allegations that jurors improperly discussed the case among themselves, including the effect of Cheatteam's refusal to testify.
Dressed in a navy blue jail outfit, her handcuffs chained to her waist and her ankles shackled together, Cheatteam sat alone while attorneys discussed her immediate fate with Darensburg at the bench. It was then that she saw members of Williams' family in the hallway outside court, apparently looking at her through the windows flanking the courtroom's doors.
"What they looking at?" she yelled, sending a jolt through the courtroom.
Darensburg ordered her bailiff to clear the hallway. Moments later, the judge vacated her contempt order and released Cheatteam from custody. However, Cheatteam was sent to a juvenile facility in another jurisdiction for reasons that were not discussed openly in court because of her age.
"Good luck to you, Miss Cheatteam," Darensburg told the girl.
Hufft said in opening statements Wednesday that Cheatteam has been uncooperative. While the prosecutors have another witness who saw events that preceded the shooting, Cheatteam is the only witness alleged to have seen the shooting itself.
Detectives learned she witnessed the crime while interviewing people who called 911 to report gunfire, Detective Jeffrey Rodrigue testified. He described her as "very" young but "very calm" and "very cooperative" when he and Sgt. Kevin Decker questioned her at the Sheriff's Office investigations bureau in Harvey until almost midnight.
Authorities allege Williams was thrown to the ground by Redmond, 42. Redmond then ran through an open field off Angus Drive, and crossed a concrete-lined drainage canal while Williams chased after him armed with a .40-caliber semiautomatic pistol.
A deputy dispatched to investigate reports of gunfire, Eric Blandford, testified he found Redmond's body on the grassy shoulder of Florence Street where it dead-ends at the canal near Esther Street. Witnesses claim Williams ran back toward an awaiting white sedan on Angus and fled. He was arrested days later at a friend's home in Marrero by SWAT officers.
Williams denies being the shooter, and his public defender Joe Perez repeatedly called into question a Sheriff's Office policy in which detectives "interrogate" witnesses and suspects in what they call "pre-interviews," before recording the formal statements that juries later hear. Perez questioned several witnesses about the interviews, including Rodrigue about his contact with Cheatteam. Following about an hour of pre-interview, Cheatteam gave a 14-minute taped statement, according to testimony.
In opening statements, Perez told the jury Cheatteam has given "multiple renditions" of what she saw. As such, Perez alleged, prosecutors threatened "what would happen to her if she did not cooperate."
Darensburg declared a mistrial Thursday after hearing a report from one juror that another juror had made derogatory comments about Perez's case, alleging it was "smoke and mirrors," Perez said. Judges routinely instruct juries not to discuss the case among themselves, because such discussions should be reserved for deliberations after all evidence is presented.
Darensburg opened a hearing in which several jurors were individually questioned, after which Perez asked for a mistrial. Darensburg granted the request.
Williams' new trial is now set to begin July 25. Cheatteam has been subpoenaed to be there, court records show.
Suspect ‘pocket dials’ 911 during alleged drug deal in South Hall
Police Seize 102 Kilos Of Cocaine, Valued At $6 Million, In Windsor Locks
State police seized an estimated $6 million worth of cocaine on Wednesday when a New York man attempted to pick up the package from a local commercial delivery service.
Police said Edwin Olivo, 37, of the Bronx, tried to pick up the package — which contained 102 kilos, or about 225 pounds, of cocaine — around noon. State police spokesman Lt. J. Paul Vance said the package had been moved by a forklift to the delivery service's loading dock.
Olivo was loading the package into his car when he was arrested, according to Vance.
"This is cocaine in its purest form," Vance said.
PHOTOS: State Police Cocaine Bust
He would not identify the delivery service, and would not disclose where the package was from. But Vance said it had been shipped to the delivery service from another country. He also would not say why the package was shipped to Connecticut.
Kindergartner caught with 18 bags of heroin at school, cops say he handed it out to classmates
Lukas I. Alpert
DAILY NEWS STAFF WRITER
Thursday, May 19th 2011, 9:26 AM
The packets of heroin, similar to the one above, had a bunny rabbit stamped on it. (WTAE)
School officials alerted parents, three of whom came forward with bags of heroin they'd found in their children's possession.
Officials say it does not appear any of the kids had taken the drug, which can be lethal in any amount to children of that age.
Dallas ISD middle school student tied to classroom chair and beaten, mother says
The alleged incident occurred at Storey Middle School in east Oak Cliff, where four students stormed into the boy’s science classroom and targeted him, said the boy’s mother, Keneshia Richardson.
She said the students, all boys, attached her son’s wrists to a chair with duct tape and a telephone cord, wrapped clear tape around his face and mouth, and knocked him to the ground. At one point, his shirt was ripped off, she said. The substitute teacher in the classroom did not stop the attack, she said.
Richardson suspected the four students targeted her son because he’s in remedial classes.
Dallas ISD spokesman Jon Dahlander said that the district was aware of the incident but that some of the details of the mother’s account were different than what he had been told.
“This is not quite the way that the incident has been described,” said Dahlander, who declined to elaborate. “In any event, it is under investigation and disciplinary action is pending” for the accused students and the substitute teacher.
Dahlander said the substitute, whose name wasn’t released, has been placed on the district’s “do not call list” as a substitute not to be used again.
Richardson, who filed a report with Dallas ISD police Wednesday afternoon, said her son was sitting in his third-period class when the four students barged in. She said he had trouble breathing after they placed clear Scotch tape around his nose, mouth and face.
“It was uncalled for,” Richardson said. “They don’t realize how serious it could be. He couldn’t breathe.”
The alleged attack finally stopped after a girl in the classroom scared the boys away, grabbed the student off the floor and released him from the chair. The boy ran down the hallway to a school resource officer, who provided him another shirt to wear.
“If the little girl had not come over and taken the tape off, my son would have died,” Richardson said. “I’m scared at this point to send my children back to school.”
Man wins World Beard & Moustache Championship, shapes facial hair into moose, flag of Norway
DAILY NEWS STAFF WRITER
Thursday, May 19th 2011, 4:00 AM
With AFP Relax News
Newt Gingrich apologizes to Paul Ryan
Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) on Mark Levin’s radio show revealed that Newt Gingrich had called him and is beginning to understand the “magnitude of his words” blasting Ryan’s Medicare reform plan on “Meet the Press.” Ryan, ever the gentleman, says “I think he just misspoke.” Gingrich apologized and Ryan said he accepted the apology.
It’s possible Gingrich looked worse at the end of the day than at the beginning. He started defiant, he ends remorseful. He first denied what he had done, now he comprehends, we are told. It is also true that Ryan came out smelling like a rose. The party rallied around him, he never appeared peeved, and Gingrich surrendered by nightfall. Not a bad showing of intellectual, political and personal standing.
I’ll posit this: Gingrich isn’t the least bit sorry for what he said; he’s just terribly sorry it probably ended his presidential ambitions, such as they were.
John McCain and Sarah Palin together again as you've never seen them before
And just in time for the 2012 political season.
HBO is currently filming its adaptation of "Game Change."
That's Mark Halperin and John Heilemann's bestselling chronicle of the 2008 John McCain-Sarah Palin presidential campaign that didn't sell so well.
Their Arizona-Alaska effort to keep the White House in Republican control, coming after eight years of you-know-who and his sidekick, you-know-him-too, who led the country into two wars and left the country in the hands of an ex-state you-know-what who's upped the ante in one war and started another against Libya.
Other than that and the spending beyond belief and the $3 trillion-plus of new national debt and no end in sight to the harsh political tone of Washington and the healthcare bill that seems to have more large companies exempted from its rules than are covered, other than those little things, everything turned out for the better.
Anyway, for those folks who want to reminisce about that endless campaign as we head into another that'll cost even more, this movie should be right up their alley.
Here's a newly released photo of McCain, who will play himself. No, not really. This is Ed Harris pretending to be John McCain.
Julianne Moore has been chosen to play the role of the Tina Fey lookalike from Alaska.
-- Andrew Malcolm
Trenton police's West District station windows are smashed by man hurling rocks
Published: Tuesday, May 17, 2011, 2:31 PM
Updated: Tuesday, May 17, 2011, 4:23 PM
TRENTON – A Trenton man apparently irate about not receiving police attention used rocks to smash three windows and the windshields of two patrol cars outside the West District police station this morning, authorities said.
The precinct building, which is unoccupied during the overnight hours, and the cars sustained thousands of dollars worth of damage, police said.
Irvin Saydee, 33, was taken into custody after he alerted police to trouble through a call box that has a direct line to dispatchers.
“He was upset nobody was responding from the building, and they detailed the cars on the unknown trouble,” said Sgt. Tom McDonough, a police spokesman.
The vandalism occurred just before 6 a.m., McDonough said. Damaged were the two front doors, a large 8-feet-by-10-feet window, and the windshields. The large, softball-sized rocks went through one pane of the double glass but did not pass through to the other side, McDonough said.
The building has a security system, but it was not activated because both panes of glass did not break, according to police.
Saydee has been charged with third-degree criminal mischief, aggravated assault on a police officer, and weapons offenses for the rocks.
Officer Keith Rogers was struck in the face by the suspect during the struggle to make the arrest and sustained swelling to his face and cheek, McDonough said.
15-year-old prodigy is youngest graduate of University of Baltimore
Friends and family say he's a normal kid who likes Twitter and basketball
A month shy of his 16th birthday, Ty Hobson-Powell made history Sunday when he walked across the stage at The Lyric as the youngest person ever to graduate from the University of Baltimore.
Hobson-Powell gave up a fledgling basketball career when he began college three years ago, commuted more than an hour each way from his home in Northwest Washington after transferring last fall from Howard University and once completed 27 credits in a single semester while shuttling between classes at Howard, Montgomery College and the Internet. He will be going to law school in the fall, and possibly to medical school after that.
But Hobson-Powell shatters the stereotype of the socially challenged brainiac who has little interest in the world outside academia. He's also not a straight-A student.
"He's twittering too much and playing basketball too much to get a perfect 4.0" grade point average, Dr. Edwin Powell, who teaches at Howard's medical school, said of the second of his four children.
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Woman suing Chuck E. Cheese for promoting gambling; Says slot machines foster addictive behavior
Monday, May 16th 2011, 2:40 PM
San Diego Union-Tribune
Originally published May 12, 2011 at 2:06 p.m.,
updated May 12, 2011 at 4:15 p.m.
SAN DIEGO — A San Diego woman has sued the company that owns the Chuck E. Cheese’s family restaurant chain, claiming that many of the games intended for children at these locations are actually illegal gambling devices — like slot machines.
Denise Keller, a local real estate agent and mother of two daughters ages 3 and 5, filed the potential class-action suit in U.S. District Court March 29. According to court documents, she is asking for a jury trial and damages and restitution of at least $5 million.
But attorney Eric Benink, who represents Keller, said the money is a secondary issue. The purpose of the lawsuit, he said, is to prevent Texas-based CEC Entertainment Inc., which owns and operates the restaurants in 48 states, from keeping the machines in its game rooms.
“We don’t think that children should be exposed to casino-style gambling devices at an arcade,” Benink said, adding that the games take only a few seconds to play and some of them feature a roulette-style wheel.
According to the complaint, many of the games in these rooms are operated by inserting tokens, which can be purchased for 25 cents each. When the games are finished, they dispense tickets that can be redeemed for prizes.
The lawsuit notes that with some exceptions, gambling is illegal in California but the penal code makes an exception for games that are predominantly based on skill.
That’s not the case with the games at Chuck E. Cheese’s, according to Keller, who claims in the court documents that she has taken her own children on numerous occasions to the restaurant’s location in La Mesa’s Grossmont Center.
Instead, the suit says, the games are based mostly on chance, and that they could foster addictive behavior in children by enticing them to play repeatedly for tickets. It says the games “create the same highs and lows experienced by adults who gamble their paychecks or the mortgage payment.”
Calls to CEC Entertainment’s attorneys were not immediately returned Thursday.
They have argued in court documents that the games are not illegal under state law. The attorneys contend that the California Legislature never intended to make operating a children’s arcade game a criminal act. Instead, they say, recent amendments to the law show that lawmakers were primarily concerned with the potential for “video slot machines masquerading as legal video games.”
CEC notes that even if the arcade games were illegal, then Keller is an admitted participant in the illegal gambling. Therefore, she should be barred from seeking any damages or restitution.
Attorneys for the company have asked a federal judge to dismiss the case. The judge has not yet ruled on that request.
Big Mac fan Don Gorske of Fond du Lac to eat No. 25,000 next week
Gannett Wisconsin Media
12:38 PM, May. 12, 2011
Don Gorske of Fond du Lac sits at his kitchen table in front of the bins and calendars that document his obsession with the Big Mac. / Patrick Flood/Gannett Wisconsin Media
FOND DU LAC — Don Gorske sometimes cannot taste the Big Macs he eats every day.
But he keeps eating and next week he expects to hit another Big Mac Milestone: On May 17, Gorske plans to consume his 25,000th Big Mac.
Gorske, 57, says that since birth his taste buds have fluctuated in sensitivity, possibly worsening when he worked inside tanks at a factory.
However, not knowing whether he’ll taste the Big Macs has not dampened his love for the McDonald’s staple.
He began eating the high-calorie special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions on a sesame seed bun burgers on May 17, 1972.
Gorske has structured his eating habits so he will devour his 25,000th Big Mac at about 3 p.m. May 17 inside the McDonald’s at 699 S. Military Ave. — exactly 39 years since he drove his father’s Dodge Polara to the original McDonald’s on Military Avenue and fell in love with the sandwich.
A handful of days this year he ate one Big Mac so he would hit the milestone on his Big Mac anniversary.
“A person like me, I just don’t change too much,” Gorske said. “It’s pretty much two Big Macs a day. When I can travel to sporting events, I like to take my Big Mac along.”
May 17 will also be Gorske’s retirement party. He has spent 25 years as a scheduling officer inside the walls of Waupun Correctional Institution.
Gorske hopes to be surrounded by friends and family Tuesday at McDonald’s where the first 300 people will be getting Gorske buttons and free meal coupons.
He will also be showing three displays only viewed by his family and the Guinness Book of World Records — the receipts, 10,000 Big Mac cartons and calendars documenting his obsession.
The need to keep track of his Big Mac consumption is part of the obsessive-compulsive disorder he has dealt with since childhood.
He wonders what his children will do with his collection, which is neatly stored in bins in his home.
“Are these going to be worth anything because their dad was crazy?” Gorske wondered.
In 1990 — the year Gorske ate his 10,000th Big Mac — a tornado damaged the roof of his home and made a mess of his collection.
8th-Grader Punished After Reporting Students Had Sex On Bus
Posted: 2:26 pm EDT May 13, 2011
Updated: 5:17 pm EDT May 13, 2011
The girl, who goes to Dayton View Academy, waited until she got home to tell her mom what she saw. The school is punishing her for not telling chaperons who were on the bus at the time it happened.
"If you tell something on a kid, you have to look for the response from that child and at the time," said Saundra Roundtree, the girl's mother. "She was afraid. I told her 'don't say anything when you are at school. I will handle it.' "
Roundtree said her daughter won't be able to go to her eighth-grade prom or the class picnic. The students who reportedly had sex are being punished as well, but Roundtree feels as though disciplining her daughter sends the wrong message. She added that all eight chaperons were sitting in the front of the bus watching a movie when the incident occurred.
"That says that 'yea you go ahead and tell but you are going to get in trouble for it,' " Roundtree said. "Even if she knew about the act, I feel like the chaperons should have known about it before her."
Roundtree said her daughter, a straight-A student, has been trying on dresses and looking forward to the prom for months.
"I have to tell her today when she comes home and I already know she is going to be very upset," she said talking about telling her daughter of the punishment.
Roundtree said the dress that her daughter was going to wear will go to a kid in her church.
The school released the following statement on the matter:
"The authorities have completed their investigation, and the school has taken appropriate actions inline with our school policies concerning such matters."
Hotel launches lavish $1,000 tequila popsicle
Man reportedly steals restaurant tips, then is hit by bus as he flees
Man hit by bus after allegedly stealing a tip jar from a restaurant.
Seattle Times staff
Friday, May 13, 2011 at 7:54 AM
A man who had allegedly stolen a tip jar from a restaurant in downtown Seattle on Thursday was hit by a Metro bus as he was fleeing, according to Seattle Police.
The man was taken to Harborview Medical Center with life-threatening injuries after the noontime incident.
According to Seattle Police, the man stole the donation jar from a business on Third Avenue and Columbia Street about noon on Thursday. He ran with the jar across Third Avenue and was struck by a northbound Metro bus.
At the time, no one was chasing the suspect, police said.
The bus driver attempted to stop, said police, but could not avoid hitting the suspect.
Police are continuing to investigate the accident and the driver has been relieved of duty during the investigation, said Metro spokeswoman Linda Thielke.
Students in Harrisburg's Camp Curtin School get sandwiches as punishment
Published: Thursday, May 12, 2011, 3:33 PM
Updated: Thursday, May 12, 2011, 5:44 PM
Camp Curtin School students are getting cold sandwiches for the week as punishment for acting up and being unappreciative of the hot meals being offered in the school’s cafeteria, an administrator said Wednesday.
“We created the opportunity where we could show them what the bare minimum would be,” the administrator said, adding that the bare minimum remained a balanced meal including fruit and vegetables.
The administrator, who did not want his name used, said that some parents and students did not understand the measures taken to correct behavior issues, such as students not cleaning up their eating area.
Since the corrective action was taken, the administrator said, student behavior has improved.
Normal hot meals will be served starting Monday at the Harrisburg School District school.
Rights group urges Iran not to blind woman's attacker with acid:
The noted author didn't keep his feelings to himself. Instead, he turned his frustration into writing "Go the F**k to Sleep," a tongue-in-cheek adult bedtime book that has swept the Internet and has already hit No.1 on the Amazon bestseller list a month before its June 14 publication date. Illustrator Ricardo Cortés captures the colorful mood of Mansbach's poetry.
The cubs and the lions are snoring,
Wrapped in a big snuggly heap.
How come you can do all this other great sh*t
But you can't lie the f**k down and sleep?
"I laughed and laughed and laughed," said Colleen Oppenzato, a Brooklyn mother of a 3-year-old boy who fights sleep every night and a 1-year-old girl who doesn't. "I thought it was my life. Every single page, you're like 'yes, yes.' You don't need water, you don't need to go to the bathroom. You just don't want to sleep."
"Go the F**k to Sleep" hits a nerve with parents who hope for a life after their kids' bedtime. Independent publisher Akashic Books has responded to preorders and overwhelming Internet interest by increasing its first printing to at least 150,000 copies and moving up the publication date from October to June.
The nightly exhaustion is "a frustrating part about something we love very much," said Mansbach, a visiting professor at Rutgers University. "A lot of these frustrations are not permissible to talk about. We're not completely honest because we don't want to be bad parents."
"Looking at parenting books, there are more and more books that are less earnest about raising your child. They help parents step back and laugh at themselves a bit," said Mark Rotella, senior editor at Publishers Weekly and father of a 5- and 2 -year-old.
"It's more like a parenting book for when the parent is inconsolable in the middle of night and frustrated." (Rotella warns parents not to leave the book lying around for children to see, noting that the illustrations are captivating.)
Mansbach, whose novels include "The End of the Jews" and the best-selling "Angry Black White Boy," started out as a poet before writing full-length novels.
Each of his new book's 32 pages is written in the style of a classic children's picture book, but there are two conversations going on: The first two lines are what the parent is saying to the kid; the second half is the internal monologue that is never said.
The eagles whosoar through the sky are at rest
And the creatures who crawl, run and creep.
I know you're not thirsty. That's bullsh*t. Stop lying.
Lie the f**k down, my darling, and sleep.
At the end of the day, the child never hears the worst of the parent's frustration.
"The book is all about the obligation of a good parent to internalize the frustration and take the irrational behavior of a child and absorb it oneself," said Akashic Publisher Johnny Temple.
"The book is an outlet for that frustration, but it completely reinforces parents sucking it up and dealing with it. There's never a moment where the kid suffers because of the parent. It's actually pretty idealistic."
A G-rated version appropriate for young children is in the works, inspired by Temple's censored reading of the book to his 3- and 5-year-old children.
"They're aware we struggle every night to get them to sleep, and they get a big kick out of the fact that the book addresses their stall tactics," Temple said.
Has his reading of the book taught his children any empathy for their parents' nightly struggle?
Not at all. The 3-year-old's current tactic is to demand Mom or Dad snuggle to get him to sleep. "And this is after the juice and too many books," Temple said. Even then, it's a gamble to get up. "When you hear his breathing change, can you get out of the bed too early and burn yourself for another 15 minutes?"
The movie rights have been sold to Fox 2000.
"THIS MAYBE OFFENSIVE TO SOME"
Daytona Beach stabbing tied to milk argument
DAYTONA BEACH -- A 68-year-old resident of a Beville Road mobile home park stabbed his live-in girlfriend repeatedly when she returned from the grocery store with a different type of milk than he had just purchased, investigators said today.
A short time after the Wednesday morning stabbing of his high school sweetheart, Betty Galas, Daniel Pacheco turned the knife on himself, then took multiple Tylenol pills, investigators said. The couple live in the Colonial Colony South mobile home park.
Investigators disclosed today that Pacheco bought milk, which for some reason Galas, also 68, didn't approve of so she went to the store and returned with a different type. The couple argued, then the stabbing occurred about 11:35 a.m. Wednesday.
Galas remains in stable condition today at Halifax Health Medical Center. She suffered multiple stab wounds. Pacheco is scheduled to go before a judge today at the hospital, where he is being treated for his injures, for a first appearance hearing on a charge of aggravated battery.
4 arrested, accused of selling drugs, raccoon meat at Houston car wash
Jeff McShan / KHOU 11 News
Posted on May 11, 2011 at 7:16 PM
Updated today at 10:12 AM
HOUSTON—Four people were arrested at a North Houston car wash where, in addition to washes and waxes, illegal drugs and raccoon meat were sold, Houston police said Wednesday.
Undercover officers said they went inside the full-service car wash located in the 4300 block of Yale and were able to purchase marijuana, prescription drugs and liquor.
HPD's deferential response team raided the business after receiving complaints from neighbors.
Police said they found two weapons and more than 1,000 prescription pills. Police checked the serial numbers of the two guns, and a 12-gauge came back reported stolen.
In addition to that, investigators said illegal gambling was taking place. There were two dominoes tables set up. Undercover officers who went into the business earlier in the day said there was high-stakes gambling going on inside a shed in the back.
The owner Michael Maxwell said it’s all lies.
“I don't know why they are here. They don't have a warrant. They come storming into my place,” Maxwell said. “I got all my permits that go with this place. I am licensed with the city. I pay my taxes. This is my property and it is private.”
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President Obama's step-grandmother, Sarah Obama, threatened by Al Qaeda in Kenya: report
DAILY NEWS STAFF WRITER
Thursday, May 12th 2011, 9:49 AM
Google deflects PR firm's attack of Gmail privacy
Byron Acohido and Jon Swartz
Updated1d 21h ago |It's not as if Google lacks privacy controversies to quell.
Yet Burson-Marsteller, a top-five public relations firm, is attempting to pile more on.
Burson last week stepped up a whisper campaign to get top-tier media outlets, including USA TODAY, to run news stories and editorials about how an obscure Google Gmail feature —Social Circle— ostensibly tramples the privacy of millions of Americans and violates federal fair trade rules.
Google said that Social Circle in fact allows Gmail users to make social connections based on public information and private connections across its products in ways that don't skirt privacy.
Yet the PR stunt played out during a week in which Google was responding to a raid of its Seoul office by South Korean privacy regulators and was preparing for a U.S. Senate hearing today over the location-tracking feature in Android smartphones.
Pushed by two high-profile media figures — former CNBC news anchor Jim Goldman and former political columnist John Mercurio, both of whom recently joined Burson — the whisper campaign illustrates how privacy has become a lightning-rod issue. Goldman pitched the Social Circle issue as a huge privacy breach to Google users and an important story for consumers.
"Privacy issues are certainly complex," says Maneesha Mithal, associate director of the Federal Trade Commission's Division of Privacy and Identity Protection.
Burson's efforts, on behalf of an unnamed client, also highlight the delicate balancing act Google, Microsoft, Facebook and Apple face as they rush to profit from cutting-edge Internet services that tap into consumer data. Several pioneering privacy rights bills are gaining steam in Congress and in California. And Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn., chairs today's hearing, where he is expected to grill executives from Apple and Google about how iPhones and Android smartphones keep precise track of each user's whereabouts every day.
The tech giants "need to ensure that consumers understand their data is being accessed and used with proper controls to ensure its protection," says Dan Hoffman, a mobile security expert at networking company Juniper.
Google, however, often pushes out new consumer services that affect privacy without clearly conveying what the technology does.
Earlier this year, it reached a settlement with the FTC for exposing Gmail users' contacts as part of an ill-fated launch of its Buzz social network in February 2010.
And it faces probes in several nations and U.S. states for dispatching fleets of specially equipped cars through city streets to harvest data from wireless networks in homes and businesses.
"Much of Google's privacy problems stem from the company's culture," says John Simpson, spokesman for the non-profit Consumer Watchdog. "They hire like-minded engineers who push the creepy line, then apologize when they get caught with their fingers in the cookie jar."
Against this backdrop, Goldman and Mercurio began engaging reporters and technologists about Social Circle, casting it as a stealthy feature circulating potentially embarrassing information among Gmail users in ways that violate FTC rules.
In a May 3 e-mail to former FTC researcher and blogger Christopher Soghoian, Burson's Mercurio offered to ghost write an op-ed column to that effect for Soghoian. Mercurio even offered in a widely circulated e-mail to help Soghoian get it published in The Washington Post, Politico, The Hill, Roll Call and The Huffington Post.
Meanwhile, Goldman connected with USA TODAY and outlined a news story critical of Social Circle.
However, Soghoian derailed Burson's efforts by posting the full e-mail text of Mercurio's pitch — along with his rejection — on the Internet. After Goldman's pitch proved largely untrue, he subsequently declined USA TODAY's requests for comment.
Meanwhile, Google began fielding media calls about the heretofore obscure Social Circle. The company acknowledges reviewing Mercurio's pitch.
"We have seen this e-mail reportedly sent by a representative of the PR firm Burson-Marsteller," says Chris Gaither, Google's senior manager of global communications and public affairs, who assumes the e-mail exchange in fact took place. "We're not going to comment further. Our focus is on delighting people with great products," he said.
Social Circle's intent
Gaither points out that Google's Social Search, of which Social Circle is now part of, was launched in October 2009 as a tool to help remind Gmail users of the people they regularly e-mail or chat with, so-called direct connections.
The service also privately sends each Gmail user the names of "secondary connections," a listing of the people each direct connection happens to be following publicly on the Web.
Google prompts Gmail users to voluntarily connect any accounts they have on Facebook, Yahoo, Flickr, LinkedIn, Quora, Twitter or Yelp to their Google profile.
Google then mines those connected accounts for individuals who become secondary connections.
"Social connections are based on publicly available information and private connections you have on Google products and services," explains Gaither.
USA TODAY asked 26 avid Gmail users about Social Circle and found only two were vaguely aware of the service, while 14 said they would disable the service, if they could, citing privacy concerns.
Gaither attributes low awareness to the fact that Google purposely designs new features "to blend seamlessly … because that's what our users prefer."
That explanation works for Elizabeth Holst, 26, a grad student in Chicago, who acknowledges how difficult it has become to remain anonymous online.
"Why fight it?" Holst says. "And there is value in hearing about things from your friends."
By contrast, Jason Gerdon, 29, a public relations professional in Costa Mesa, Calif., says he'd like to opt out of the service.
"I like having control over my connections," Gerdon says. "Although this might be similar to Facebook or Twitter recommendations, this just feels more intrusive."
Dion Moses, 25, a computer engineer in Ridgecrest, Calif., also wants out of Social Circle. "This is shocking," Moses says. "I had no idea that Google was doing this, and I pay close attention to most technology news sites."
The only way to disable Social Circle, Gaither says, is to stop using Gmail.
Google's push to proactively expand Gmail users' connections, in fact, derives from Facebook's stunning success at enticing its 500 million-plus users to voluntarily reveal their closest acquaintances, along with rich information about their preferences and online behaviors, says Kevin Lee, CEO of search consultancy Didit.
Google, by comparison, can really only profile Internet users based on their search queries and who they e-mail and chat with, Lee says.
The search giant generated $29.3 billion in revenue in 2010, mainly by selling sponsored ads to appear alongside specific search query results.
Facebook, a private company, is believed to generate about $2 billion in annual revenue by selling ads targeted to specific groups of friends, such as expectant mothers, recent retirees or frequent fliers, Lee says.
Social-networking sites — Facebook, in particular — are not without privacy problems. They face heightened scrutiny over their evolving privacy policies from consumers, privacy advocates and legislators.
While most Facebook users "freely provide information about themselves, it's far less clear that they understand how that information is being used by Facebook or third parties to profile them," says Opus Research analyst Greg Sterling.
Even so, Google has set out to emulate Facebook by using tracking programs and algorithms to connect more members from the top social networks to Gmail users.
"Google wants access to the dollars that Facebook is getting," Lee says. "They're trying to create a product that comes closer to mirroring Facebook's ability to target specific groups of people for advertisers."
As Google extends connections between Gmail and the top social networks, it risks upsetting at least some Gmailers.
"Users have a very high expectation of privacy in their e-mails," says Kimberly Nguyen, consumer privacy counsel for EPIC.
Donald Trump Lets His Hair Down
A conversation with the host of The Celebrity Apprentice
Rolling Stone Magazine
Like you, we've always wondered what's inside Donald Trump's wallet. So, on a recent visit to his office at the top of Trump Tower in Manhattan, the epicenter of his vast real estate empire and putative presidential ambitions, we ask him if we can take a look. He pulls it out, dips it down and hides it behind his huge desk, peers inside, saying, "Let me just see if there's anything ... ," and then holds it out, fanning through it, revealing his Winged Foot Golf Club membership card and his very own gun permit, neither of which he apparently ever leaves home without.
"It's a Donald J. Trump wallet," he says, happily. He's still a fairly big, fairly imposing guy at age 64, has hair that's the patriotic shade of amber waves of grain, dresses like men of the world used to dress, in a dark suit, with a crisp, white shirt and a tie that's the subtlest pink ever. "We sell them at Macy's. They sell great. Hey — I have the number-one-selling tie in the country. What color tie do you like? Your tie looks like <snip>. Do you want a tie? It's not a bribe. They're nothing. I sell shirts, PVH, Phillips-Van Heusen. Cuff links." He waves his arms around, shoots his cuffs to show off glittering cuff links. "Trump cuff links!" he shouts. "They're magnificent! Everybody's buying them! If I said I got them at Harry Winston, for $100,000, you'd believe it! Forty-nine dollars at Macy's! Macy's doesn't even want to carry other brands! We blow them out!"
That's pure Trump-speak — loud, over-the-top, just the kind of Ronco Veg-o-Matic, everyone's-a-mark, carny-barker, hard-sell ballyhoo that he hopes will also blow out the other presidential hopefuls, should he decide to run. But will he run? He says the world will know his answer by June — at which time, if he announces in the affirmative, he will also reveal the true size of his financials, which, he says, will shock the world, being around $7 billion, if not more, and make Mitt Romney, with his measly hundred millions, look like a floppy little fish indeed and certainly not the kind of guy who, for instance, could spin the roulette wheel on ties and cuff links and make gazillions.
"We need a businessman," Trump says, working himself into a lather of self-congratulation, "and I've been successful. Right now, I have the greatest properties in the country. I have great stuff. The point is, I'm running for office in a country that's essentially bankrupt, and it needs a successful businessman, and, by the way, let me explain about one thing, might as well get that clear: I never went bankrupt."
He's drawing a distinction here, which is that while various of his businesses may have sought Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection over the past two decades, Trump the person never has. In the early 1990s, for instance, after a decade of profligate spending — $3.8 billion worth, mainly financed by junk bonds and Trump-snookered banks — he came face to face with an economic downturn that forced four Trump properties — the Plaza Hotel and his three Atlantic City casinos — into bankruptcy. It happened again in 2004, and also in 2009, when Trump Entertainment found itself $1.7 billion in debt. Trump's way is to dismiss these financial catastrophes with a snarl and a shrug. As he said in his 2007 book, Think BIG and Kick Ass in Business and Life, "I figured it was the bank's problem, not mine. What the hell did I care? I actually told one bank, 'I told you you shouldn't have loaned me that money. I told you the god<snip> deal was no good.' " Or, as he casually says today, "I play with the bankruptcy." Which is kind of a sad, dispiriting advertisement for his genius as a businessman. Do we really want that kind of guy in office? At least some people seem to think so.
"Look," Trump chuckles, "I'm number one in the polls already, and I haven't even done anything!"
Which is no longer true, since it was largely Trump's bellyaching that prompted the White House to release President Obama's so-called long-form birth certificate, proving once again that Obama was born in the U.S. (unless you're a birther, in which case it proves nothing). "I'm very proud of myself," Trump crowed the day it happened. Naturally, he made no mention of what his "investigators" in Hawaii discovered poking around about Obama's birth — "They cannot believe what they're finding!" he had said in early April — probably because they either didn't exist or they found nothing. Instead, in his quest for ever-bigger headlines and even more attention, he stooped to new lows, by bringing up Obama's college education and playing the race card. "How does a bad student go to Columbia and then to Harvard?" Trump said, the clear implication being that it was only thanks to affirmative action and never would have happened had Obama been white. It's despicable stuff, and yet, coming from Trump, not all that surprising. If nothing else, he's a master of smoke and mirrors, and so far has managed to keep anyone from focusing too tightly on his own past. Those bankruptcies. His marriage-wrecking affair and two divorces. His garish casinos that may or may not have had mob ties. The time he referred to his current wife, Melania, as "a young and beautiful piece of ass" (which he now denies ever having said). And let's not forget the whole abortion thing, where Trump has recently flipped to pro-life; the whole let's-invade-the-Middle-East-and-just-like-take-all-the-oil thing; and all the rest of those kooky things he spouts on a daily basis, keeping his name in the news in an effort, no doubt, to boost the ratings of his Celebrity Apprentice reality-TV show while appearing to be testing the presidential waters. He's one top-notch novelty act and a Barnum-type showman with an unerring instinct for what to say to appeal to the loonier segment of the electorate. He's good at catering to the lowest common denominator like that, decorum be <snip>ed.
But what about some Trump constants, some things that are unwavering in his character and nature?
For one thing, he goes to bed late, gets up early, usually wearing only "the undies," as he calls them, never "the formality" of pajamas, brushes his teeth first, takes a leak second, and only then steps into the shower, his hand reaching out through the steam to grab the shampoo and lather up that hair of his that has received so much attention over the years. How does he do it?
He steeples his fingers, purses his lips and launches right into it like it was some kind of major policy issue. "OK, what I do is, wash it with Head and Shoulders. I don't dry it, though. I let it dry by itself. It takes about an hour. Then I read papers and things. This morning I read in the New York Post about Jerry Seinfeld backing out of his commitment to do a benefit for my son Eric's charity. I've never been a big fan of Jerry Seinfeld — never dug him, in the true sense — but when I did The Marriage Ref, which was his show and a total disaster, I did him a big favor. Then he did this. It's a disgrace." He goes on, "I also watch TV. I love Fox, I like Morning Joe, I like that the Today show did a beautiful piece on me yesterday — I mean, relatively speaking. OK, so I've done all that. I then comb my hair. Yes, I do use a comb." He pauses, frowning, casting his mind back to capture the details of the event. "Do I comb it forward? No, I don't comb it forward." He pushes the leading edge of the flying wing of his hair back, to show where the hairline is. "I actually don't have a bad hairline. When you think about it, it's not bad. I mean, I get a lot of credit for comb-overs. But it's not really a comb-over. It's sort of a little bit forward and back. I've combed it the same way for years. Same thing, every time."
After that, he spends some time not saying what he doesn't want to say, in a very mulish, deeply parsed, Republican-president sort of way.
Does he have a Bible by his bed?
"I do," he says. Then: "I have a Bible near my bed."
"It's up in my apartment." Silence.
When was the last time he went to church?
"Two weeks ago. A church in Palm Beach, Florida. What was the sermon about? I'd rather not get into it, frankly."
Where does he stand on gun control?
"I'm against gun control for the reason, it doesn't affect the bad guys, because they're going to have guns. What kind of gun do I have? I'd rather not say. I have a gun. It's a handgun, OK?"
Is it Trump-sized?
"It's a gun. I have a gun. It's a handgun." Silence.
All this talk seems to be making him thirsty. He calls for a Coke, and a hot number in spike heels arrives with a Coke in a glass of ice. Trump sips, smacks his lips.
"I've never smoked a cigarette in my life," he goes on. "I've never had a drink, never had a joint, never had any drugs, never even had a cup of coffee. So, those are some good things about me. I probably have some bad things about me, too." He pauses, as if waiting for some bad things to materialize out of thin air, but when a miracle occurs and they don't, he starts up again. "I will say, though, that I like a little caffeine. People assume I'm a boiler ready to explode, but I actually have very low blood pressure, which is shocking to people. I'll drink water. Sometimes tomato juice, which I like. Sometimes orange juice, which I like. I'll drink different things. But the Coke or Pepsi boosts you up a little."
And then he goes on about the ratings of Celebrity Apprentice and the ratings of himself in presidential polls, both of which are "very, very" high. This is all well and good, but it's incredibly boring, and eventually you are forced to cut him off, with, like, is there one orgasm in his life that he would consider the most memorable?
He leans back in his chair, tilts his head up, takes a long time to think this over, his cherubic cheeks reddening either with the effort of recollection or the maintenance of a boiler about to explode. At last, very smoothly, he says, "Well, always the children. And this building. Trump Tower." A duller answer one cannot imagine. Maybe he'll take a shine to something larger, like naming the central problem of existence.
"Conflict," he says, snapping forward. "Conflict, if it's not resolved, leads to lots of bad things, and that's where this country is right now. We're in many, many conflicts that ultimately could end up in calamity."
But, seriously, has anyone ever loved conflict more than him?
He smiles. "Look, sometimes you need conflict in order to come up with a solution. Through weakness, oftentimes, you can't make the right sort of settlement, so I'm aggressive, but I also get things done, and in the end, everybody likes me."
Well, maybe not everyone. He's been called some pretty terrible things recently, like "farcical," "an unpolished and graceless blowhard" and "a monstrous parody of entitled American wealth masquerading as skillful entrepreneurship." Just days ago, Republican strategist Karl Rove pronounced him "a joke." Trump shrugs most of these things off. They come with the territory, and, in fact, by shrugging them off, he is able to once again demonstrate the insane, over-the-top self-confidence and self-regard that seem to have caught the fancy of a certain segment of the population — probably the same folks who believe it when Charlie Sheen claims he is somehow "winning." Trump didn't do so well at the White House Correspondents' Dinner last month, however. While President Obama and host Seth Meyers poked fun at him and his hair, all Trump could do was stare straight ahead, with no expression whatsoever, betraying how utterly humorless he is about himself. Trump doesn't like Rove's "joke" comment, either. "That was a very nasty thing for him to say," he mutters darkly. "He shouldn't have said that. We'll have it out with Karl Rove. I don't lose too often."
So, Rove might want to look out. And so might Jerry Seinfeld, for that matter.
"I don't want to ruin my image by saying this, but I'm a much nicer person than people understand," Trump says. "I like to do the right thing and help people. But when people are disloyal to me — I have a couple of instances of well-known people, where I'd help them out, but when I needed a favor, not a big favor in this one case, this guy didn't want to do it. That's 15 years ago. I haven't spoken to him since. He died. He's dead mentally. In other words, for me, they don't exist. I hold a grudge. I have the longest memory. I always kick back. I believe in that."
It's kind of weird hearing Trump spit out his words with such rigid vehemence just like he does on his reality show, knowing how huge a constant that grudge-holding is with him and that you yourself might one day be on the receiving end of just such a grudge. You can always hope that age will lay him low first, but it's not likely, given how healthy he is. "I had a father who was 94," he says, "a mother who was 90, so, you know, I'm genetically lucky that way, too."
Also, he's got a big thing about germs, so he's a frequent hand-washer and goes everywhere with packets of hand sanitizer stuffed into his suit jacket. He pulls one out now, dangling it in the air. It's a Super Sani-Cloth Germicidal Disposable Wipe ("The two-minute germicidal wipe") — which isn't exactly the kind of market-share leader you might expect Trump to favor. He rubs his palms together. "I don't use Purell, Purell is too sticky, but this other stuff is great. I always carry a couple of them."
Leaning back, he goes on, "The question has come out, 'How can Donald Trump campaign if he doesn't shake hands?' Well, over the years, I've shaken many hands, and I have no problem shaking hands. But it's not a healthy thing. With the germs, it's not a question of 'maybe' — they have been proven, you catch colds. You catch problems. Frankly, the Japanese custom is a lot smarter."
One can just imagine Trump, then, his first big time out on the hustings, massively ambivalent, surrounded by his fellow man, the crush closing in on him, the panic that must arise as he finally confronts the great unwashed them, that hideous, germ-ridden, infection-spreading other that he has for so long tried to avoid in the flesh but that his attention-craving ego (not to mention his TV show) so needs. It would have to be unbearable. After an event like that, he probably couldn't get to his Super Sani-Cloths fast enough. So that's another thing we would maybe have to look forward to in a Trump presidency: less handshaking, more bowing, fewer colds, fewer "problems." And if it were just that, what's not to like?
Man flees from deputies at RI County Courthouse
The Quad-City Times
Wednesday, May 11, 2011 8:06 pm
Rock Island County deputies clean up a mess created by a man who fled from security at the courthouse this morning. The man slammed into two glass doors as he wrestled with court staff while trying to exit the building.
(Dustin Lemmon/Quad-City Times)
A man who fled security Wednesday at the Rock Island County Courthouse slammed into two large glass doors as he tried to get away and suffered significant injuries.
Demetrius C. Bateman, 25, was apprehended after a foot chase near the foot of the Centennial Bridge, Rock Island County Sheriff Jeff Boyd said.
Bateman was in court for a misdemeanor hearing when deputies went to arrest him on a warrant for failure to appear for a driving while revoked charge, the sheriff said.
Boyd said the suspect fled the courtroom and slammed into large glass exit doors on the west side of the courthouse. Boyd said Bateman apparently didn’t hit the bar to release the door and suffered severe cuts.
Rock Island County Sheriff’s Sgt. Mark Biscontine and Bailiff Russ Griffin caught up to Bateman at the courthouse exit, but he managed to get away. They continued to chase him until they caught him near the bridge, Boyd said.
Large holes and cracks were left in the two exit doors. Shortly after the incident, deputies were on the scene breaking out the remaining glass and sweeping up the mess.
Boyd said the deputy and bailiff suffered cuts and abrasions, and the bailiff might have broken a finger. They were being treated at an area hospital.
Meanwhile, Bateman underwent surgery at the hospital, the sheriff said, but his injuries were not considered life-threatening. He was to be taken into custody once released.
Boyd said the sheriff’s department is seeking two counts of aggravated battery and a charge of criminal damage to property against Bateman in connection with the incident.
Burglar left paralyzed in escape, police say
Police say a 43-year-old burglar trying to flee a weekend break-in in Hephzibah broke his neck while jumping from a deck and is now paralyzed.
Richmond County sheriff's Sgt. Dan Carrier said Carl Thurmond was in the middle of a burglary on Daisy Lane about 9 p.m. when someone came home.
In an attempt to get away, the Hephzibah man jumped from the deck but landed on his head. He was taken to a hospital with broken vertebrae.
When authorities arrived, Thurmond still had a remote from a TV he was attempting to steal in his pocket, police said.
Woman Had 47 Balloons of Heroin in Her Body
11:45 a.m. EDT, May 10, 2011
Towed Away: Thieves Using Tow Trucks To Steal Cars
12:45 a.m. CDT, May 11, 2011
LINK TO VIDEO:
Instant Heart Attack sandwich under fire
Wayne Parham Photography
A popular New York City deli says a potential legal challenge to its Instant Heart Attack sandwich isn't kosher.
A lawsuit filed on Tuesday in the federal court says the Heart Attack Grill restaurant chain has accused the 2nd Avenue Deli of stealing its idea to spoof healthy eating with calorie-bomb entrees like the three-patty Triple Bypass Burger.
It asks the court to block Arizona-based Heart Attack Grill from pursuing a trademark infringement case.
The deli's Instant Heart Attack sandwich is made up of two potato pancakes and a piled-high choice of corned beef, pastrami, turkey or salami. The 2nd Avenue Deli Instant Heart Attack costs $US23.95 ($22).
The Manhattan deli also has plans for a Triple Bypass sandwich.
2nd Avenue Deli says it is "home to the finest Jewish culinary creations in New York City". It serves only kosher meat, poultry and fish.
Meanwhile, Heart Attack Grill is a hospital-themed restaurant with chains in Arizona and Texas.
The company says it has become internationally famous for "embracing and promoting an unhealthy diet of incredibly large hamburgers".
"Customers are referred to as 'patients', orders as 'prescriptions', and the waitresses as 'nurses'," HAG says.
Items on the company's menu include Single, Double, Triple and Quadruple Bypass Burgers, Flatliner Fries (which are "deep fried in pure lard"), Lucky Strike no-filter cigarettes for the adults and Candy Cigarettes "for the kids".
Its Butterfat Shake has the world's highest butter fat content, HAG says.
"The menu names imply coronary artery bypass surgery and refer to the danger of developing atherosclerosis from the food's high proportion of saturated fat and excessive caloric content," the company says.
"The Quadruple Bypass Burger has been quoted by the media at around 8000 calories.
The Instant Heart Attack Sandwich from 2nd Avenue Deli.
"One of the restaurant's most celebrated (and widely publicised) gimmicks is the free wheelchair service provided to those 'patients' who successfully finish the Quadruple Bypass Burger. Amidst a flurry of photography from tourist bystanders the 'patients' are pushed in a wheelchair out to their cars."
Heart Attack Grill was created in 2005 by "Dr Jon".
The company says Dr Jon is a "non-American Medical Association recognised physician" who was arrested after threatening to set a fire hose on a group of picketing nurses.
"He has been glorified as the freedom-fighting archenemy of political correctness by some, and demonised as a charlatan 'nutritional pornographer' by others," the company says.
"Dr Jon can be found each day at the griddle, actually flipping hamburgers in his white doctor's lab coat and stethoscope.
"The restaurant has found itself in a continual state of self-defence against various activist groups and branches of state government."
HAG says diners who reach the 350 pound (160kg) "goal weight" will be treated to free meals.
Dr Jon's fitness book Heart Attack Grill Diet attempts to teach readers how to eat, drink and smoke their way to better health, the company says.
HAG is not short of fans, with tens of thousands of people enjoying the restaurant chain's Facebook page.
Dr Jon, aka Jon Basso, told Fox News presenter Neil Cavuto in 2007 that Heart Attack Grill was "like every restaurant should be - a place to enjoy one's life, eat to the fullest (and) have fun".
"Don't worry about what people are telling you," Basso told Cavuto.
"I am an American citizen. My customers, or patients, as I call them, are American citizens. And we will eat what we want to."
A Heart Attack Grill lawyer did not respond to an Associated Press request for a comment. A 260kg man who served as the company's spokesman died in March.
Wis. judge calls defendant ‘gayer than a sweet-smelling jockstrap’
May 10, 2011
Before sentencing a former school bus driver to prison for molesting young boys, the judge ridiculed the defendant for claiming to be a heterosexual.
“I think you were born gayer than a sweet smelling jock strap,” Judge Philip Kirk of Waupaca told Delton Gorges, 71, before sending him to prison for seven years on counts of sexual assault of a child, repeated sexual assault of a child and two misdemeanor counts of fourth-degree sexual assault. Gorges will serve 15 years of extended supervision after his prison release.
Kirk said he believes Gorges was the victim of a homophobic society in the 1940s and 1950s.
“No one knew there was a closet to come out of in those days,” the judge said. “You know you had to be very careful, because you could have found your penis floating in the Wolf as walleye bait. It was a terrible life to have to live.”
But Kirk added, “I think that if anyone believes that in the last 10 years or 15 years all of a sudden you developed an interest in homosexuality and young boys, then I must have looked ravishing in my prom dress this year.”
Although the judge’s rant sounded sympathetic toward gay people, critics told Fox 11 they were concerned that it linked homosexuality with pedophilia.
“Sometimes people don’t say the right thing, but they potentially mean well,” said Andrew DeBaker, co-chair of the gay rights group New Pride. “The thing that concerns me is the linking homosexuality, linking being gay with, in this case, child molestation.”
Gorges, who drove a school bus for 33 years, pleaded no contest to the charges.
LINK TO VIDEO:
Bristol Palin lands her own reality show: Single mom will move in with Kyle Massey and his brother
DAILY NEWS STAFF WRITER
Monday, May 9th 2011, 2:06 PM
Manual principal blocks story on teacher found with teen
Students wrote piece after teacher's arrest
After duPont Manual High School teacher Carrie Shafer was found partially undressed in a car with a 17-year-old boy in March, high school journalist Charley Nold set out to tell the story.
But Charley, 16, a staff writer for the school's online publication, the Manual RedEye, couldn't get his story past principal Larry Wooldridge.
Wooldridge rejected Charley's initial one-paragraph story announcing Shafer's arrest and subsequent resignation, instead scribbling out his own statement to be posted online, saying only that Shafer had quit and the school was seeking a replacement.
Charley, joined by classmate Julian Wright, then wrote a follow-up story that focused on student reaction to the incident, along with examples of alleged misconduct by teachers with students elsewhere in Kentucky, and warning signs for students about being exploited. Wooldridge rejected that story as well.
To date, the only things published by the RedEye on the departure of the popular science teacher are two statements by the principal, neither of which addresses Shafer's arrest on a misdemeanor charge of unlawful transaction with a minor. Neither police nor school district officials have confirmed whether the boy found with Shafer was a Manual student.
According to the RedEye's still unpublished story, the goal of school officials was to “ensure that this situation stayed within the school's walls.” Charley and other Manual students are concerned that Wooldridge is censoring their work to protect the school's reputation from an already widely reported scandal.
“As a principal he does a good job, but when it comes to matters of the student press I think he doesn't understand that we're not just part of the school,” Charley said. “We are a legitimate news organization.”
According to the Jefferson County Public Schools' code of conduct and student bill of rights, school publications “will be free from censorship or prior restraint.” But it also says school officials may establish guidelines that include restricting libelous or obscene material.
LINK TO PHOTO OF TEACHER:http://www.courier-journal.com/article/20110507/NEWS0105/305080015/Manual-principal-blocks-story-on-teacher-found-with-teen?odyssey=tab|mostpopular|text|FRONTPAGE
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Iowa sheriff's dispatcher fired for sexual comments
A Cedar County Sheriff's Department dispatcher has been fired after being accused of repeatedly behaving in a sexually suggestive or inappropriate manner.
State unemployment records show that dispatcher Amy Willey, 29, of Lowden was fired by the sheriff late last year. Her dismissal became public only recently after the county challenged her claim for unemployment benefits.
State records indicate the sheriff's department alleged that during her two years of employment, Willey made sexual comments regarding her breasts and other parts of her anatomy, sent a text message of naked people painted like frogs, called a Durant city police officer to find out whether his penis was pierced, discussed sex toys, grabbed her buttocks and breasts while at work, and advised an officer who had recently broken up with his girlfriend that he should make sure his "pipes don't get rusty."
The sheriff's department alleged that Willey, who was married, was using an office phone to converse with a married city police officer while she was on duty. The conversations allegedly were of a flirtatious nature, which caused tension in the sheriff's office. Willey took the calls on a tape-recorded line, and two of the calls from last December were made public during her recent unemployment hearing.
In both calls, the city police officer indicated he was on duty, but bored with little to do. Willey said she was watching TV, but interrupted her conversation with the officer to field radio calls from Cedar County deputies.
Both conversations were peppered with profanities and gossip about accident victims. Willey referred to a colleague's alleged affairs with other law enforcement officers, adding, "You didn't hear it from me."
Willey gave the officer inside information on a job he applied for within the sheriff's office, offered to make him cookies and enchiladas, and indicated that she had asked her husband for a divorce.
"The problem is, if I was offered a job there, I couldn't have an extra-marital relationship," the officer told Willey.
Willey was subsequently fired for inappropriate behavior and for sharing with others confidential medical information about a colleague.
Willey didn't testify at her unemployment hearing, but told The Des Moines Register her conduct was no worse than that of other employees.
She said the department tracked fatalities handled by individual dispatchers and at the year-end Christmas party would recognize the dispatcher with the highest number of deaths on her shift.
"I got the raw end of the deal," she said. "There's other people that should have got let go, got fired, for sleeping on the job - stuff like that. They should have been fired."
Cedar County Sheriff Warren Wethington said the department doesn't recognize dispatchers for fatalities on their shift.
"That would be immoral," he said. "I have disciplined people for sleeping on duty, and I haven't had any repeat offenses."
The administrative law judge who presided over the hearing ruled in favor of the county, finding that Willey was guilty of misconduct and should be denied benefits.
Other workers accused of misconduct on job
Iowa Workforce Development records indicate these other Iowans have been accused of on-the-job misconduct:
- Candice Stephen, a children's caregiver in Des Moines Public Schools' after-school program, was fired after being accused of caring for children while under the influence of alcohol.
- Charles D. Garvin resigned from the U.S. Department of Interior's Geological Survey after being accused of trying to "fix" a job for another individual who had kept a government-issued cellphone after being fired. Garvin, who worked in Davenport, was accused of falsifying records to make it appear the phone had been returned. He was given the option of resigning or being fired.
- Angela Roszell was fired from Sartori Memorial Hospital in Cedar Falls where she worked as a lab technician. Two of her colleagues had anonymously complained to hospital officials that Roszell shared with them confidential information about an emergency room patient and showed them a related cellphone photo of a fetus. The workers said the picture of the fetus appeared to have been taken in the emergency room. When questioned, Roszell allegedly said the photo in question was something she had downloaded from the Internet.
Roszell was awarded unemployment benefits, with the judge noting that the hospital offered only anonymous, hearsay evidence of Roszell's guilt.
- Heather Northrup resigned from University of Iowa Hospitals where she worked as a medical assistant. She was accused of making more than 100 personal long-distance phone calls that were billed to the hospital. She was given the option of resigning or being fired.
- Susan Knight Wilbur of Granger was fired from Iowa Health-Des Moines where she had worked since 1994. She was accused of three patient-privacy violations, one of which related to her taking a cellphone photo of a child in a waiting room.
- Lindsey Degner and Devera Devol-Chevalier were fired from the Lutheran Services of Iowa social-service agency.
Degner, who worked with children, was accused of posting derogatory information about her clients and her employer on her Facebook page. Devol-Chevalier was accused of failing to report a case of suspected child abuse.
New High Tech Taser being used in Polk County
10:31 AM, May 9, 2011
Bartow, Florida - There's a new taser in town that looks like something out of a James Bond movie. It packs a powerful punch and it stops the bad guys in their tracks longer than a stun gun can.
Polk County Sheriff's Office SWAT team members say the taser has already saved lives.
They point to a terrifying scene from inside an Auburndale home last Christmas when a convicted sex offender, 27-year-old Jason Robinson, was accused of brutally attacking his brother and threatening to kill the entire family.
In victim's statements to police Jason's brother Adam Lee Robinson explained to detectives after the alleged incident, "He starts stomping on my ribs and he actually jumps up and stomps on my testicle."
Jason is accused of barricaded himself inside the house and that's when the Polk County Swat team moved in. Paul Butler is a member of the Swat team and says, "So we pushed the front door of the house open with that to try to get his attention. I utilized a shotgun that we have with the TASER XREP round."
Polk County Sheriff's Office is one of only about two dozen law enforcement agencies in Florida using the powerful new TASER Extended Range Electronic Projectile (XREP).
It's fired from a 12 gauge shotgun from up to a hundred feet away. It's 14 grams, has wing like fins that spread open as it takes flight. It has painful probes and pins that stick into your body. It packs all the powerful punch and stopping power of a stun gun and is enclosed in a 12 gauge shotgun shell and when it hits you it locks up your muscles.
John Angleton is the taser coordinator for the sheriff's office and says, "It's the most excruciating pain imaginable. It locks everything up. For one you cannot move. You can breathe because you're screaming at the top of your lungs."
The TASER XREP keeps a suspect down for 20 seconds instead of 5 seconds which is how long the traditional taser keeps a suspect down. It has to be fired from a closer range within 21 feet.
While the rounds cost a hundred dollars apiece Swat team members will tell you that the lives they've already saved is priceless.
They say it saved Jason Robinson's life. Deputy Butler says, "When he fell - he fell within inches of a butcher knife that was on the floor but thankfully he fell on top the X-rep round. That round immobilized him and allowed us to get in and secure him.""
Butler adds, "So that 20 seconds gives us plenty of time to get into the home or get into wherever we're at or close the distance between us and the suspect and take them into custody before they're able to do something to harm themselves
or harm us."
The TASER XREP is only available to law enforcement agencies and not the general public. While the cartridges are expensive for the Polk County Sheriff's Office only their SWAT team is allowed to use them
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Fourth marijuana conviction gets Slidell man life in prison
Published: Thursday, May 05, 2011, 5:51 PM
Updated: Friday, May 06, 2011, 7:58 AM
Cornell Hood II got off with probation after three marijuana convictions in New Orleans.
He didn't fare too well after moving to St. Tammany Parish, however. A single such conviction on the north shore landed the 35-year-old in prison for the rest of his life.
State Judge Raymond S. Childress punished Hood under Louisiana's repeat-offender law in his courtroom in Covington on Thursday. A jury on Feb. 15 found the defendant guilty of attempting to possess and distribute marijuana at his Slidell home, court records show.
Hood moved from eastern New Orleans to the Slidell area after he admitted to separate charges of distribution of marijuana and possession with intent to distribute marijuana on Dec. 18, 2009, in Orleans Parish Criminal District Court. He received a suspended five-year prison sentence and five years' of probation for each -- which was precisely the same penalty he got in that court after pleading guilty to possessing and intending to distribute marijuana on Feb. 22, 2005.
When Hood switched homes, he also requested a new probation officer based in St. Tammany. Authorities granted the wish, and the officer, Dustin Munlin, drove to Hood's place for a routine visit on Sept. 27, 2010.
Munlin found nearly two pounds of pot throughout the house, according to court records. He alerted Sheriff's Office deputies. They arrested Hood, who apparently shared the King's Point house with his mother and young son.
Prosecutors later charged him with one count of possession with intent to distribute marijuana.
At Hood's one-day trial, the evidence presented by the prosecution included a digital scale and about a dozen bags that had contained marijuana before being seized from the house, testimony showed. Deputies also found $1,600 in cash and a student-loan application with Hood's name on it inside of a night stand.
Jurors deliberated for less than two hours and convicted Hood of a reduced charge, which usually carries no more than 15 years' imprisonment. Assistant District Attorney Nick Noriea Jr. then used Hood's past convictions on Thursday to argue that he was a career criminal worthy of a severe punishment.
Drug offenders in the state are subject to life imprisonment after being convicted three or more times of a crime that carries a sentence exceeding 10 years.
Canadian woman last seen in Oregon survived on snow; husband missing
Published: Friday, May 06, 2011, 9:31 PM
Updated: Saturday, May 07, 2011, 8:10 AM
Courtesy of Royal Canadian Mounted PoliceAlbert and Rita Chretien left for Las Vegas on March 19. Rita Chretien was found this afternoon by hunters on a remote logging road in northeastern Nevada.
Police Sergeant Fired for Not Zipping It
Lisa Johnson Mandell
Apr 27th 2011 @ 12:24PM
Oh sure -- he claimed he was running around with his fly open in an effort to see who would tell him to zip up his pants, but the Ohio police sergeant who approached Sears employees with the proverbial barn door open, has been fired following a conviction of indecent exposure.
It took the Cincinnati Police Department almost a year to do it, but finally, on April 19, 39-year-old Robert McDonough III, was fired for escapades committed in May 2010. He was reassigned to desk duty last June, and found guilty and convicted in February 2011.
McDonough defended his actions claiming they were "an attempt to determine who would advise him that his zipper was down" according to UPI. But the court didn't buy it. He was sentenced to eight days of community service, two years of probation and a $250 fine. Then he was fired.
In addition, McDonough has been prohibited from shopping at Sears -- all locations -- ever again!
Suburban West Palm Beach woman accused of running over boyfriend's lover
11:29 p.m. EDT, May 6, 2011
A suburban West Palm Beach woman is with charged aggravated battery after she allegedly ran over another woman during a fight over a man they were both were dating, according to the Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office.
Kendra E. Brown, 21, is being held in lieu of $250,000 bail at the Palm Beach County jail.
According to a Sheriff's Office arrest report, deputies responded on Tuesday to the 1000 block of Pipers Cay Drive in suburban West Palm Beach where they found a woman trapped beneath Brown's car.
During questioning, a Sheriff's Office detective learned that Brown had seen her boyfriend, Lorenzo Williams, driving someone else's car and tailed him.
Williams' final destination was that of a 36-year-old woman whom he was apparently also dating. Brown and the other woman got into an argument outside of the house. The fight eventually became physical.
According to the report, at some point, the unidentified woman hit Brown with a bottle of Grey Goose vodka. When the woman turned to get back into the house, witnesses say Brown jumped into her car and ran the woman over.
After her rights were read, Brown "acknowledged that she had several chances to disengage from any contact with (the woman)," the report stated.
County jail records show Brown, whose also uses the alias, "Reshanta Mannings," has been arrested twice before. She was arrested earlier this year for larceny and resisting property recovery by a merchant, and in 2008 for shoplifting.
History of Mother’s Day
Contrary to popular belief, Mother’s Day was not conceived and fine-tuned in the boardroom of Hallmark. The earliest tributes to mothers date back to the annual spring festival the Greeks dedicated to Rhea, the mother of many deities, and to the offerings ancient Romans made to their Great Mother of Gods, Cybele. Christians celebrated this festival on the fourth Sunday in Lent in honor of Mary, mother of Christ. In England this holiday was expanded to include all mothers and was called Mothering Sunday.
Julia Ward Howe, a Boston poet, pacifist, suffragist, and author of the lyrics to the “Battle Hymn of the Republic,” organized a day encouraging mothers to rally for peace, since she believed they bore the loss of human life more harshly than anyone else.
In 1905 when Anna Jarvis died, her daughter, also named Anna, began a campaign to memorialize the life work of her mother. Legend has it that young Anna remembered a Sunday school lesson that her mother gave in which she said, “I hope and pray that someone, sometime, will found a memorial mother’s day. There are many days for men, but none for mothers.”
Anna began to lobby prominent businessmen like John Wannamaker, and politicians including Presidents Taft and Roosevelt to support her campaign to create a special day to honor mothers. At one of the first services organized to celebrate Anna’s mother in 1908, at her church in West Virginia, Anna handed out her mother’s favorite flower, the white carnation. Five years later, the House of Representatives adopted a resolution calling for officials of the federal government to wear white carnations on Mother’s Day. In 1914 Anna’s hard work paid off when Woodrow Wilson signed a bill recognizing Mother’s Day as a national holiday.
Former soldier, 91, told to stop street patrols
The Dominion Post
John Bray used to drive around on volunteer community patrols with a companion, but decided to go solo after finding his sidekick, in his late 80s, kept falling asleep on duty.
Now he's been told by the head of the local patrol that the national Community Patrol organisation does not want volunteers working alone, and Mr Bray can stay on the roster only if he finds a partner.
He feels he's more than qualified to deal with Waipawa's graffiti vandals and other miscreants, having served with the Long Range Desert Group, a reconnaissance and raiding unit of the British Army, in north Africa in World War II.
For more than 10 years he has spent at least one night a month driving Waipawa's streets, armed with a spotlight, fluorescent vest and a mobile phone, looking for suspicious behaviour.
He has no qualms about approaching people to ask them about their motives.
But he says he can understand the national body's concerns for his safety. "I'm not getting my hackles up about it. I know their thinking. I mean, I know 70-year-olds who shouldn't be driving a wheelbarrow, let alone a car."
He's been a bit crook lately after a fall and is also getting over an operation to remove a blood clot from his leg, but says once he's well he might look at finding a new partner.
"I'd like to do it again. I've just never bothered finding a partner since my last one pulled out."
He keeps busy working from home doing saddlery and stitching work, and is also the caretaker of a block of retirement flats – whose residents are all his junior.
His wife, June, died in 1988. He has six children, 14 grandchildren and 22 great-grandchildren. Both his parents lived to 99, so he reckons the patrol should get a few years out of him yet.
Waipawa patrol head John Carter says he hated having to break the news to Mr Bray. "We love him dearly and we're desperately trying to find a partner for him."
Player Wins Million Dollar Jackpot Off Indio Penny Slot Machine
George Hayes Of Hemet Spent $50 To Win $1.1 Million
POSTED: 1:47 pm PDT May 6, 2011
"George simply walked up to a one-cent Super Spin Wheel Of Fortune machine and put in $40 or $50," said casino spokeswoman Ciara Green. "Not long after that, he watched five Wheel of Fortune symbols line up across the center line and knew it had to mean something big."
Sex and coffee may raise risk of brain hemorrhage in some people
4:00 PM PDT, May 5, 2011
The rupture of a brain aneurysm is a relatively rare event but, as it causes bleeding in the brain, that event is a potentially devastating one. Now researchers have attempted to identify possible triggers for such ruptures, also known as hemorrhagic strokes, finding that sex, coffee and losing one’s temper -- among other things -- may raise the risk.
Such ruptures begin with aneurysms, which are weak spots in blood vessels in the brain. Under stress, those weak spots can rupture and lead to hemorrhaging, or bleeding. But it wasn’t clear what activities put people at the most risk of a resulting hemorrhagic stroke.
In surveying 250 people who’d recently had a subarachnoid hemorrhage resulting from an aneurysm, researchers in the Netherlands asked how often in the past year, and just before the hemorrhage, they were exposed to 30 potential triggers, such as smoking, drinking alcohol and having sex.
By assessing the frequency and intensity of their exposure to such triggers, researchers found that eight activities appeared to make a rupture more likely:
-Blowing your nose
-Straining on the toilet
The common factor? All produced sudden, short increases in blood pressure.
That doesn’t mean people with aneurysms should try to cut out all those activities—though it couldn’t hurt to get rid of, for example, anger issues. The researchers wrote:
“Reducing caffeine consumption or treating constipated patients with unruptured [intracranial aneurysms] with laxatives may lower the risk of [subarachnoid hemorrhage]. Although physical exercise has a triggering potential, we do not advise refraining from physical exercise because it is also an important factor in lowering the risk of other cardiovascular diseases.”
The results were published online Thursday in Stroke.
About 2% of people have aneurysms, the authors point out, but most never rupture. In the U.S., there are 25,000 to 27,000 ruptures per year; about 40% are fatal, according to the Brain Aneurysm Foundation.
Coffee, sex and physical exercise may raise the risk of a brain aneurysm rupturing and bleeding into the brain, a study suggests. (Wikimedia Commons)
Cops: Man said he had alligator because 'chicks dig it'
3:05 p.m. CDT, May 6, 2011
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Alleged Walgreens robber dies from suspected drug overdose
Lawrence Raley, suspected of robbing a Walgreens for pill, died from a suspected drug overdose after his arrest Thursday, Palm Bay officials said. (Brevard County Jail)
12:18 p.m. EDT, May 6, 2011
Bethlehem woman admits encouraging teens to have sex
Vazquez (May 5, 2011)
10:57 p.m. EDT, May 5, 2011
A Bethlehem woman who pressured two sets of 13-year-olds to have sex in her home will serve nine years of probation.
Sheila M. Vazquez, 37, admitted Thursday in Northampton County Court to three counts of corrupting minors, a plea agreement before Judge Leonard Zito in which prosecutors withdrew dozens of other counts.
Over five months in 2009, Vazquez encouraged two boys and two girls, all 13, to have sex, police said. She would insult the boys if they declined, and she showed one of them how to use a condom, police said.
Vazquez would also serve as lookout, stomping on the floor or sending text messages to warn the teens if her husband returned to their Phillips Street home, police said.
Vazquez was charged last year after a complaint was made to the county's Children, Youth and Families Division and investigators
Free Pancake Puppy Sundae from Denny's:
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Wrong woman buried in funeral home mix-up
Times Record News
May 5, 2011 at midnight
A miscommunication at a funeral home led to the burial and memorial service for the wrong person.
In late April, Falls Funeral Home and Cremation Center in Wichita Falls accidentally mixed up the bodies of two people, which not only had grieving friends and families paying closed-casket respects to the wrong woman, but also resulted in having one body exhumed after six days to be replaced with the correct one.
It all started about three weeks ago when James Elser and Shanon Aradillas got word their mother, Sylvia Wallace, had died at a nursing home in Wichita Falls.
Wallace had frequently told her children she wanted to be buried at her mother's grave site in Smyrna, Ga.
"That was her last request," Aradillas said. "She just wanted to be reunited with her mom."
So when the family members arrived at the nursing home, they had an embalmer, contracted through Falls Funeral Home, take her to the funeral home's facility to be prepared for burial as they arranged ways to get her to Georgia.
Falls Funeral Home's director, Rick Shaffer, said when Elser came to the funeral home, he started giving him prices and looking into airports that would receive a casket in Georgia.
Shaffer said he also showed Elser a pink casket in the funeral home that was meant for another woman, whose funeral was set for later that day.
"He said he liked the casket and I told him I'd order one for him that would come in the next day or two," Shaffer said.
Shaffer then asked the man who had prepared Wallace to dress the other woman before her service. And that's when the mix-up began.
"I said, 'Get that pink casket out and get her ready and get her in that casket,' " he said. "And he was thinking for some reason that I was talking about Mrs. Wallace. But I was talking about the other woman."
As a result, the man dressed Wallace and placed her in the casket and took her to be buried at the other woman's service at Crestview Cemetery â€” where an unsuspecting family paid their respects to the body of Wallace while their actual loved one was still at the funeral home.
"I have been in the funeral business for over 20 years, and this has never happened," Shaffer said. "It was my mistake. I assumed he had the right lady in the casket."
He realized the mistake when he returned to the funeral home later that night and saw the other woman's body still in the holding facility.
"I said 'Oh, my god,' I buried the wrong body."
He said he then tried to reach Elser over the next few days, and left him voice mails telling him to call back.
He did reach him finally, but â€” to add to the confusion â€” Elser was being evacuated from his home located in the path of the Possum Kingdom wildfire. Shafffer said he couldn't hear him that well over the phone, so he elected to tell him at a better time.
In the meantime, he broke the news to a member of the other woman's family.
"He said he understood the mistake and said, 'Let's just get it corrected and move on,' " Shaffer said. "He said he understood and he was glad I came to him first thing to tell him."
But the reaction from Elser and Aradillas was entirely different.
After Shaffer told them what had happened, they came to the funeral home and signed paperwork to have the bodies exchanged.
The next day, the casket containing Wallace's body was exhumed and the casket containing the correct woman's body was immediately put in its place. Wallace's body was brought back to the Falls Funeral Home, where it was shown to Elser, Aradillas and Bonnie Conaway, Elser's fiancee.
They didn't like what they saw.
"She just didn't look good at all," Elser said. "I wondered if they even embalmed her. It looked like they didn't. I mean, it was a really, really tough sight to see my mom, an angel, look like that after being buried in the ground for six days."
Shaffer said she was embalmed and he provided documentation.
The disgruntled siblings sought legal counsel, even though Shaffer said he tried everything he could to rectify the situation with them.
He said he offered to eliminate all service-related costs, including embalmment and holding fees.
"I felt absolutely terrible. I instantly asked them to tell me anything I could do to make this right for them," he said.
He said in addition to waiving fees, they wanted $2,000 to cover costs of renting two cars so they could personally take their mother's body to Georgia.
"I agreed to it and tried to reach them about it, but they never called me back," he said. "If they wanted more money, I wish they would have told me so I could work it out with them. I just wanted to make things right for them."
But the siblings said they were never contacted with an offer and they sought legal advice.
The family's attorney, Michael Payne, said it was a tragic situation that his clients obviously didn't ask for.
He said there are financial negotiations with the funeral home's insurance adjustor, but he wouldn't comment on specifics.
Shaffer said he was asked in a letter for a $55,000 settlement.
"Their objective from the moment of their mother's death was to get her buried where she wanted, in Georgia," Payne said.
"But we believe there have been rights violated," he said. "We are hopeful that this matter can be concluded quickly."
During the two-week long back-and-forth legal process, Wallace's body has stayed in a preservation facility at Falls Funeral Home.
Wednesday afternoon the family went to another company, Owens & Brumley Funeral Home, to take over the situation.
That day, Owens & Brumley funeral director Steve Mendenhall said Wallace was taken from Falls Funeral Home to Owens & Brumley, where she will be kept until they fly her out of Dallas today and to Atlanta, where they have arranged to have another funeral home pick the body up and take it to Smryna.
He said she will be buried Saturday, the eve of Mother's Day, by her mother's grave.
Elser, Aradillas and Conaway plan to rent a car and drive to Georgia for the service.
Mendenhall also said Falls Funeral Service is still covering the costs of the embalming and the casket.
To Elser, Owens & Brumley's handling of their mother is "a vast comfort" and a "bulldozer off my back," he said.
But he said the emotional stress is already done, and what he and his family have seen and endured will never fully subside.
"I still see the look of my mom after she had been buried for six days ... and it just, well, it will be in my mind forever," he said. "I'm stuck with that image. That will go to my grave. It will never go away."
Accused shoplifter's list: 'Things needed from Walmart'
Lindsey Bryan accused of stealing $100 worth of clothes, accessories.
Officers said 24-year-old Lindsey Bryan and her unidentified “personal shopper” had it all planned out. Police found a handwritten list in one of the women’s purses titled “Things needed from Walmart.” (Seminole County jail, Seminole County jail / May 5, 2011)
12:28 p.m. EDT, May 5, 2011
HPD officer arrested on theft charges
BRIAN ROGERS and JAMES PINKERTON
May 4, 2011, 2:14PM
Stefan Riha, 29, was arrested while on duty Tuesday night, snared in a sting operation as part of an investigation by HPD's internal affairs division. The patrol officer, who was charged with theft by a public servant, allegedly took $1,100 from an undercover officer, a police source familiar with the investigation said.
"He would stop someone on a traffic violation, search them, and take the money ... those are the allegations,“ said the source, who asked not to be identified because he was not authorized to discuss the inquiry. "It's not the first time he was accused. There were other complaints. There were allegations of $800 and other amounts ... it's quite a bit of money."
2 sustained allegations
Riha allegedly preyed on undocumented immigrants in his patrol area in the midwest patrol division, where many are known to carry large sums of money.
"If these people are here illegally and are working, many don't have a bank account so they carry the money with them," the source said.
Riha is Hispanic and speaks Spanish fluently, the source said.
Riha, who was suspended with pay after the arrest, could not be reached for comment on Wednesday.
The officer has two previous sustained internal affairs allegations against him, including a April 2010 violation for causing an accident and a January 2008 complaint for not completing an official report, according to a database of HPD complaints.
Riha, who became an officer in April 2007, faces a maximum of 10 years in prison if convicted of the third-degree felony. He is free on $5,000 bail.
Because Riha was arrested as part of an internal investigation, police authorities would not release details of the allegations, said HPD spokesman Kese Smith. In Harris County Court records, prosecutors allege he stole an unspecified amount of cash from a person, identified as R. Cruz, by using his status as a public servant.
Riha is a member of the Houston Police Officers Union. He has not contacted the union about legal representation, said union president Gary Blankinship. Court records do not show whether he has an attorney.
Last month, a Houston woman settled a civil rights suit against Riha and another Houston police officer related to serious injuries she received during her arrest by Riha in January 2008.
Araceli "Sally" Perez was awakened at 2 a.m. by officers who were looking for her boyfriend, who had been sent there from a bar in a taxi. The cab driver flagged down police when Perez's boyfriend could not pay the fare, and they refused her offers to pay the cabbie with a check.
'A broken-up face'
Police tried to collect the fare from the boyfriend, and when they detained him, Perez came outside her home to plead with officers not to hurt him, said her civil attorney, Bryan C. Mitchell.
"She had a broken-up face and her arm was snapped above the elbow,“ said Mitchell. "She was pushed against a brick wall, her face into a brick wall, and thrown to the ground, and officer Riha was on top of her."
During the arrest, Riha jumped on Perez and held her arms down, breaking one of them, Mitchell said. The officer claimed he had grabbed Perez in a bear hug and then slipped and fell on her, and the injuries to the woman were accidental, Mitchell said.
He said the charges against Perez of assaulting a police officer were dismissed, as were charges against her boyfriend.
The civil case was settled by the City of Houston after mediation.
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Patriot-News, The (Harrisburg, PA)
May 3, 2011
Student, school clash over patriotic face painting
When Connor Tressler tuned in to watch his beloved Philadelphia Phillies take on the New York Mets on Sunday evening, he didn't expect to witness history.The game was interrupted by news that U.S. special forces had killed al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden during a raid in Pakistan.
Likewise, when the Middle Paxton Elementary School fifth-grader's mother painted his face with an American flag, "USA" and the date of bin Laden's demise Monday morning, neither dreamed it would cause him to run afoul of his school's administration.
"They told me it was against the school's code of conduct, that they're not against the patriotic display, but that the paint goes against the scholastic environment," Connor's mother,Jennifer Tressler, said.
Connor, and then his mother, were notified he needed to remove the paint. When both refused, Tressler removed her son for the rest of the school day.
Both sides agreed Connor was never asked to leave the school.
Though the dress code does not specifically exclude face paint, the code states that students "have the right to wear such clothing or apparel as they choose, unless such clothing or apparel distracts from the educational program or constitutes a health or safety hazard." Middle Paxton's principal, Carol Lopez, referred a reporter who visited her Monday to the Central Dauphin School District's public relations official.
Shannon Leib, the district's spokeswoman, said face paint is never permitted.
"In this instance, there was a disruption in the hallway, a reaction of other students pointing or laughing at this student," Leib said.
When asked if a shirt, written with the same symbols, would have been more appropriate, Leib said each case of student expression is considered on its own merits.
In this case, the face paint and the reaction to it drew Lopez's attention.
Lopez acted correctly when she called district Assistant Superintendent Carol Johnson to proceed with a course of action, Leib said.
Mary Catherine Roper, a staff attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania, called the district's response "an overreaction." "Just because a student's speech is effective does not make it disruptive," Roper said. "There's a difference between discussion and debate, which schools should encourage, and a breakdown of discipline in the classroom." Roper pointed to the recent federal court decision allowing students in the Easton Area School District to sport "I (Heart) Boobies" bracelets to support a breast cancer charity. "What the court said is that a couple of kids making remarks is not a disruption," Roper said.
Remarks, Tressler and her son said, are the only thing that occurred Monday morning.
"My teacher said it looks nice," Connor said.
In fact, Tressler said, it was more disruptive to the school day to have Connor pulled out of class twice in about a half-hour than the brief laughs and stares he got in the hallway as he entered school.
What's more, Tressler said, her son, who plays baseball, came to school last year with a temporary tattoo of a Pirates logo on his neck and a ring of Pirates-related symbols around it.
That display drew no comments from anyone, she said, and was for less serious a reason.
Connor, who was a baby on Sept. 11, 2001, said he was stunned and proud when the baseball game was interrupted by President Barack Obama's announcement.
He has several friends whose parents served tours in Afghanistan and Iraq and he was partially thinking about them as he planned his patriotic display. He's happy for his country, he said.
Connor and his mother said he plans to be in school today.
"I guess I won't paint my face anymore," Connor said. "They didn't say anything about my shirt, so I'll stick to T-shirts.".
Bus-jacking? Osceola cops say driver stole own bus
Bruce Anthony Williams (Osceola County Jail, Osceola County Sheriff's Office / May 3, 2011)
7:20 p.m. EDT, May 3, 2011
A tour-bus driver who claimed he was bus-jacked at gunpoint actually stole his own motor coach, drove around for more than 17 hours and used $400 of his employer's money to buy drugs and alcohol, the Osceola County Sheriff's Office said Tuesday.
Meanwhile, a tour group was left waiting for the bus, which was supposed to arrive Monday at 8 a.m.
Bruce Anthony Williams called the Sheriff's Office about 1:20 a.m. Tuesday to report that four men who identified themselves as members of the Bloods gang had robbed him at a Circle K gas station at 7626 W. U.S. Highway 192 and put him in the cargo area, deputies said.
Williams, 53, was pacing and changed his story several times, and investigators quickly decided that he had made up the story, they said. They contacted his employer in North Carolina, who had reported the bus missing after Williams left the tour group high and dry.
Williams told a deputy that he gave the bus-jackers a ride to either Winter Park or Winter Haven after they let him out of the cargo hold.
Later, he admitted driving the bus to parties and using $400 of his employer's money to buy cocaine and alcohol, a sheriff's report states. He also said he got drunk, fell asleep and forgot to pick up the tourists.
Williams, of Raleigh, N.C., is being held in the Osceola County Jail on charges of filing a false police report and grand-theft auto.
You are NOT allowed to commit suicide: Workers in Chinese iPad factories forced to sign pledges
Daily Mail Reporter
Last updated at 3:37 PM on 1st May 2011
Factories making sought-after Apple iPads and iPhones in China are forcing staff to sign pledges not to commit suicide, an investigation has revealed.
At least 14 workers at Foxconn factories in China have killed themselves in the last 16 months as a result of horrendous working conditions.
Many more are believed to have either survived attempts or been stopped before trying at the Apple supplier's plants in Chengdu or Shenzen.
Appalling conditions: An investigation by two NGOs has found new workers at Foxconn factories in China are made to sign a 'no suicide' pledge
After a spate of suicides last year, managers at the factories ordered new staff to sign pledges that they would not attempt to kill themselves, according to researchers.
And they were made to promise that if they did, their families would only seek the legal minimum in damages.
An investigation of the 500,000 workers by the Centre for Research on Multinational Companies and Students & Scholars Against Corporate Misbehaviour (Sacom) found appalling conditions in the factories.
They claimed that:
Grim: Netting has been put up outside worker dormitories buildings in Chengdu and Shenzhen after a spate of suicides last year
The 'anti-suicide pledge' was brought in after sociologists wrote an open letter to the media calling for an end to restrictive working practices.
But the investigation revealed many of the workers still lived in dismal conditions, with some only going home to see family once a year.
One worker told the newspaper: 'Sometimes my roommates cry when they arrive in the dormitory after a long day.'
She said they were made to work illegally long hours for a basic daily wage, as little as £5.20, and that workers were housed in dormitories of up to 24 people a room.
In Chengdu, working between 60 and 80 hours overtime a month was normal, with many breaching Apple's own code of conduct with the length of their shifts.
And the investigation found that employees claimed they were not allowed to speak to each other.
Production line: The investigation found illegal amounts of overtime was rife and workers claimed they were not allowed to talk during shifts
Must have: High demand for iPods and iPads in the west has fuelled the tough working conditions for part suppliers in China
Foxconn admits that it breaks overtime laws, but claims all the overtime is voluntary.
Some officials within the company even accused workers of committing suicide to secure large compensation payments for their families.
Anti-suicide nets were put up around the dormitory buildings on the advice of psychologists.
Foxconn said it had faced 'some very challenging months for everyone associated with the Foxconn family and the loss of a number of colleagues to tragic suicides'.
Spokesman Louis Woo, responding to allegations that staff were humiliated, said: 'It is not something we endorse or encourage. However, I would not exclude that this might happen given the diverse and large population of our workforce.
'But we are working to change it.'
He added that employees were 'encouraged not to engage in conversations that may distract them from the attention needed to ensure accuracy and their own safety'.
Sacom said the company initially responded to the spate of suicides by bringing in monks to exorcise evil spirits.
Leontien Aarnoudse, a Sacom official, told The People: 'They work excessive overtime for a salary they can hardly live on and are inhumanely treated.
'Conditions are harsh and they don't have a social life. Their life is just working in a factory and that is it.'
Demand for iPads and iPhones has soared, resulting in tough targets for workers in Apple factories.
Apple's supplier code of conduct demands that employees are treated with respect and dignity, but its own audit reports suggest suppliers in China may not meet up to these standards.
The global high-tech product manufacturer made profits of $6billion ni the first quarter of 2011.
Palin thanks former President Bush for bin Laden's death
9:58 p.m. MDT, May 2, 2011
LINK TO VIDEO:
Victory could be dimmed by economy
Unemployment, gas, food prices still chief concern
For President Obama — whom Republicans have called weak on defense and indecisive on foreign policy — the killing of Osama bin Laden represents a key moment in his presidency.
“When you think of what’s a single event to have big impact on public perception of a president, I can’t think of anything bigger than this,’’ said Alan Abramowitz, a professor of public opinion and the presidency at Emory University. “It helps in his image as a leader. It was his mission.’’
Had the mission gone awry, some analysts said, it could have deeply damaged his presidency. But the raid’s daring success, including confirmation of bin Laden’s death, won Obama plaudits from across the political spectrum. Even former vice president Dick Cheney, who has been a chief critic of Obama on national security matters, praised him.
The startling news is expected to divert attention, at least temporarily, away from an underperforming economy and high gas prices, topics that potential Republican presidential candidates have seized. It could also bolster Obama’s low approval ratings while exposing a Republican presidential field that so far lacks a candidate with substantial foreign policy experience.
“It really enhances Obama’s national security credentials,’’ said Jeremy Mayer, a professor at the School of Public Policy at George Mason University. “He can look in the camera and say, ‘I did in two years what President Bush and Republicans couldn’t do in seven.’ He won’t say it that bluntly, but that’s what the message will be.’’
Still, the contours of the 2012 campaign are unlikely to change — and by the time voters go to the polls, this could be a distant memory. The race is almost certain to hinge not on issues of foreign policy, but on the domestic issues that have dogged Obama.
“While this is absolutely a credential that the president can and will use from now through his reelection campaign, I tend to think that 2012 is going to be more about spending, deficits, jobs, and the economy,’’ said Stu Rothenberg, editor of a Washington-based nonpartisan political newsletter. “Not about the killing of Osama bin Laden.’’
“It answers some criticisms of him not being an effective commander in chief,’’ said Jon McHenry, an Alexandria, Va.-based GOP pollster and strategist. “But it’s not going to help him as much as if gasoline went down to $3 a gallon. He ultimately is going to be judged on the economy.’’
The Republican field of presidential hopefuls was largely complimentary.
“Welcome to hell, bin Laden,’’ former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee said, in one of the bluntest statements.
Several candidates gave Obama credit for the death of the man responsible for the attacks on Sept. 11, 2001.
“I want to congratulate America’s armed forces and President Obama for a job well done,’’ said former Minnesota governor Tim Pawlenty.
“Congratulations to our intelligence community, our military, and the president,’’ said former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney.
Even celebrity mogul Donald Trump, who spent much of the past few weeks ridiculing the president and questioning his credentials as well as his place of birth, offered a nod of appreciation: “I want to personally congratulate President Obama and the men and women of the armed forces for a job well done.’’
Now, though, discussion is expected to turn toward the expanded US role in Afghanistan. Obama will have to decide whether to make good on a promise to withdraw troops, yet the war will be harder to justify now that one of the stated goals has been accomplished.
It’s unclear whether the American electorate much cares. During the midterm elections in 2010, only 7 percent of voters said the war in Afghanistan was the most important issue, according to exit polls. By contrast, 63 percent of those surveyed said it was the economy, while 18 percent said health care.
“We’ve got to give him the day,’’ said Scott Reed, a Washington-based Republican consultant who was campaign manager for Bob Dole’s 1996 presidential campaign. “But by the end of the week we’re back to business. And jobs and gas prices are going to be at the top of what’s on everybody’s minds.’’
Military victories have not always translated into election wins. President George H.W. Bush lost the 1992 election, even though just a year earlier he orchestrated a worldwide military campaign that ousted Saddam Hussein’s forces in Kuwait and humiliated the Iraqi leader.
The GOP candidates have focused largely on domestic issues — and at a forum in Manchester, N.H., on Friday night, five likely presidential hopefuls spent 90 minutes talking almost exclusively about domestic issues, criticizing Obama on the economy and his health care plan. Still, the death of bin Laden was welcome news for the White House.
In the last week, the president has had to confront floods in the Midwest and tornadoes in the South, and he facilitated the release of his long-form birth certificate. Even the shuttle launch he was supposed to attend was scrapped due to weather.
“You could say this is the first upbeat event of his presidency,’’ said presidential historian Joan Hoff, a professor at Montana State University. “If you look at what’s happened since he took office, it’s all been a real downer: two wars and a collapsed economy.’’
Exxon-Mobil earned 69 percent more during the first quarter than a year ago, and the industry is trying to keep a $4 billion annual tax subsidy
Exxon-Mobil’s first quarter earnings of $10.7 billion are up 69 percent from last year. That’s the most profit the company has earned since the third quarter of 2008 — perhaps not coincidentally, around the time when gas prices last reached the lofty $4 a gallon.
This gusher is an embarrassment for an industry seeking to keep its $4 billion annual tax subsidy from the U.S. government, at a time when we’re cutting social programs to reduce the budget deficit.
It’s specially embarrassing when Americans are paying through their noses at the pump.
Exxon-Mobil’s Vice President asks that we look past the “inevitable headlines” and remember the company’s investments in renewable energy.
What investments, exactly? Last time I looked Exxon-Mobil was devoting a smaller percentage of its earnings to renewables than most other oil companies, including the errant BP.
In point of fact, no oil company is investing much in renewables — precisely because they’ve got such money gusher going from oil. Those other oil companies also had a banner first quarter, compounding the industry’s embarrassment about its $4 billion a year welfare check.
Baloney. If you hadn’t noticed already, this is one of the most anemic recoveries on record. $4-a-gallon gas is itself slowing the economy’s growth, since most consumers are left with less money to spend on everything else.
Gerard then claims the giant earnings “reflect the size necessary for [American] companies to be globally competitive with national oil companies” around the world.
Let’s get real. The crude oil market is global. Oil companies sell all over the world. The price of crude is established by global supply and demand. In this context, American “competitiveness” is meaningless.
Republicans who have been defending oil’s tax subsidy are also finding themselves in an awkward position. John Boehner temporarily sounded as if he was backing off – until the right-wing-nuts in the GOP began fulminating that the elimination of any special tax windfall is to their minds a tax increase (which means, in effect ,the GOP must now support all tax-subsidized corporate welfare).
Boehner is now trying to pivot off the flip-flop by reverting to the trusty old “drill, drill, drill” for opening more of country to oil drilling and exploration. “If we began to allow more permits for oil and gas production, it would send a signal to the market that America’s serious about moving toward energy independence,” he says.
This argument is as nonsensical now as it was when we last faced $4-a-gallon gas. To repeat: It’s a global oil market. Even if 3 million additional barrels a day could be extruded from lands and seabeds of the United States (the most optimistic figure, after all exploration is done), that sum is tiny compared to 86 million barrels now produced around the world. In other words, even under the best circumstances, the price to American consumers would hardly budge.
Whatever impact such drilling might have would occur far in the future anyway. Oil isn’t just waiting there to be pumped out of the earth. Exploration takes time. Erecting drilling equipment takes time. Getting the oil out takes time. Turning crude into various oil products takes time. According the federal energy agency, if we opening drilling where drilling is now banned, there’d be no significant impact on domestic crude and natural gas production for a decade or more.
Oil companies already hold a significant number of leases on federal lands and offshore seabeds where they are now allowed to drill, and which they have not yet fully explored. Why would they seek more drilling rights? Because ownership of these parcels will pump up their balance sheets even if no oil is actually pumped.
Last but by no means least, as we’ve painfully learned, the environmental risks from such drilling are significant.
Let’s not fool ourselves – or be fooled. There’s no reason to continue to give giant oil companies a $4 billion a year tax windfall. Nor any reason to expand drilling on federal lands or on our seashores.
But there are strong reasons to invest in renewable energy – even in a time of budget austerity. Use the $4 billion this way. And why stop there? Why not a windfall profits tax to the oil companies, to be used for renewable energy?
Sarcasm? Rush Limbaugh Heaps Praise on President Obama for the Killing of Osama bin Laden
May 02, 2011 3:25 PM
Even Rush Limbaugh heaped praise on President Obama for giving the go-ahead to kill Osama bin Laden, although the kudos became so effusive on Limbaugh's radio program today that they seemed more like sarcasm.
“Ladies and Gentleman we need to open the program today by congratulating President Obama,” said Limbaugh, one of the President’s most notable antagonists, at the open of his radio program Monday. “President Obama has done something extremely effective and when he does, this needs to be pointed out.”
He said President Obama succeeded by continuing the policies of President Bush and maintaining the U.S. presence in the Middle East. “He did not scrub the mission to get bin Laden,” said Limbaugh.
Then the praise turned into high gear. “In fact,” said Limbaugh, “it may be that President Obama single-handedly came up with the technique in order to pull this off.”
More Limbaugh: “You see, the military wanted to go in there and bomb as they always do. They wanted to drop missiles and drop bombs and a number of totally destructive techniques here. But President Obama, perhaps the only qualified member in the room to deal with this, insisted on the Special Forces. No one else thought of that. President Obama. Not a single intelligence adviser, not a single national security adviser, not a single military adviser came up with the idea of using SEAL Team 6 or any Special Forces.”
Limbaugh did not specifically say he was being sarcastic, but it would be a problem indeed if President Obama were the only member of the U.S. government who could think of using the SEALs for such an operation.
“According to news reports, not one member of the military – not Gen. Petraeus, nobody in the Intel community, nobody had the slightest idea of going in there and using special forces,” Limbaugh said, suggesting he was frustrated with the media’s coverage of the killing of bin Laden. Limbaugh also had to correct himself multiple times for referring to Osama bin Laden as Obama.
Limbaugh sounded more sincere when he said he was “as proud of the U.S. military as I have been in a long time.”
LINK TO VIDEO:
April 30, 2011, 6:00 AM ET
Number of the Week: Millions Set to Lose Unemployment Benefits
5.5 million: Americans unemployed and not receiving benefits
The job market may be on the mend, but that’s not much consolation to millions of Americans facing a frightening deadline: the end of their unemployment benefits.
The country’s unemployment rolls are shrinking fast, after expanding sharply last year as the government extended benefits to ease the pain of a deep economic slump. As of mid-March, about 8.5 million people were receiving some kind of unemployment payments, down from 11.5 million a year earlier, according to the Labor Department.
To some extent, the shrinkage reflects a desirable reality: Some people are leaving the unemployment rolls because they’re finding jobs. The number of employed in March was up nearly 1 million from a year earlier, according to the Labor Department’s household survey. That’s the biggest year-over-year rise since late 2007.
Many Americans, though, are simply running out of time. As of March, about 14 million people were unemployed and looking for work, according to the household survey. At the time the survey was done, about 8.5 million were receiving some kind of unemployment payments, according to the Labor Department’s Employment and Training Administration. That leaves about 5.5 million people unemployed without benefits, up 1.4 million from a year earlier.
There’s always a certain number of unemployed who don’t receive benefits. They may have just entered the labor force, quit their jobs or not been eligible for some other reason. But workers didn’t quit their jobs at a higher rate over the past year, and more exited the labor force than entered. That suggests the 1.4-million-person change largely reflects people losing their benefits.
For the more than 4 million Americans still receiving extended benefits, the picture isn’t encouraging. The longer they’ve been out of work, the harder it is to find a job. They’ve typically been unemployed for at least 26 weeks, and may have been out of work for as long as 99 weeks, which for many people is the limit.
In the coming months, hundreds of thousands more will drop off the unemployment rolls. The number of people using up their regular 26 weeks of unemployment payments peaked in August 2009 at nearly 800,000 a month. That means a lot of people should be hitting their 99-week limit right about now. And unless Congress does something unexpected, more people with shorter bouts of unemployment will start joining them as the government phases out extended benefits next year.
Radio & TV Talk
‘Celebrity Apprentice’ recap: Trump trumped by Obama/Osama
11:32 pm May 1, 2011
This is a night when reality trumped reality TV and Donald Trump got trumped by Pres. Obama and news that Osama Bin Laden is dead.
NBC chose to pre-empt the EST feed of “Celebrity Apprentice” at about 10:50 p.m. as the President was about to announce the news. So right now, I have no idea who got “fired” by Trump. We were in the middle of watching NeNe Leakes try to fend off Star Jones in the boardroom on the popular reality show. I will update this in the morning if we do end up finding out who gets fired Monday morning. (NeNe has not tweeted since the show got preempted, at least as of 11:31 pm. EST. Obama finally came on at 11:35 p.m. EST, though he had told media he would be on at around 10:30 p.m.)
Leakes earlier in the episode verbally threatening she was going to “take down” Star Jones for backstabbing and manipulation. Naturally, the team lost to the much more integrated trio of men: John Rich, Meat Loaf and fellow Atlantan Lil Jon, who won his second challenge against NeNe. (So another $40,000 goes to the United Methodist Children’s Home in Decatur for foster children.Go Lil Jon!)
My favorite line from NeNe about Star: “You evil fat lady. You may have lost weight on the outside but your brain is still very fat.”
NeNe felt played by Star Jones in helping get rid of LaToya Jackson, who was ousted last week.
Then in a play that was possibly LaToya’s idea (but more likely, the ingenious producers), she confronted Trump afterwards, saying she should not have been fired. She wants back in with the men to wreak revenge upon Star.
Trump can’t help it so he brings her back to the men’s team in a surprise move.
The men won tonight despite the fact it was a hair show competition. On the surface, this should have been a slam dunk for the women. But the men have three great presenters. This time, Lil Jon was a far better stage person than NeNe. The men also had a more coherent theme and even brought back Nikki Taylor from the women’s team to be a model just to tweak the ladies.
Man accused of stealing from cancer patients
A group of Relay for Life volunteers is infuriated after part of the money they raised for cancer patients was stolen.
It happened during a vigil to remember those who had lost the battle against the disease when one of their bank bags disappeared.
Lois Peter from Saint Cloud said she and others became suspicious of one of the team members, Christopher Charland.
Rayzor's Edge team leader, Traudi Rayzor said a friend confronted Charland when she saw something that looked like a bag between his waist and pants. Rayzor said the woman then pulled out the bank bag from inside Charlands' pants.
Witness said the crowd pinned Charland down until the police arrived. The police arrested him and took him to jail. Charland now faces grand theft charges.
The Relay for Life group did get the lost money back and despite the incident, members reached their goal, raising more than $3,000.
Many however are still in disbelief that someone would be capable of stealing from cancer patients.
The team's leader is now considering running background checks before selecting team members next year.
Christopher Charland, Relay for Life robbery, Rayzor's Edge, Saint Cloud
Tampa woman saves man's life, then finishes triathlon
Kameel Stanley, Times Staff Writer
ST. PETERSBURG - A Tampa woman saved the life of a man who had a heart attack during a triathlon Saturday morning, race officials said.
Teresa McCoy, 37, was just about to finish the bike portion of the Meek and Mighty Triathlon, part of the annual St. Anthony's Triathlon events, when she saw two police officers huddled over a fellow rider along Bayshore Drive.
McCoy recognized the middle-aged man as runner No. 100. The two had chatted briefly before the start of the race. McCoy, a nurse at Tampa General Hospital's cardiac lab, was No. 96.
With other riders speeding by, McCoy steered her bike to where the man was down.
The officers thought the man might be having a seizure, but McCoy checked for a pulse.
"I didn't feel one at all," she said. "He wasn't looking good."
McCoy began CPR, then yelled for someone to find a defibrillator. One of the officers had one in his trunk.
"As soon as we shocked him, he came to," McCoy said.
As paramedics arrived and loaded the man into an ambulance, McCoy got back on her bike and finished the race.
She learned later that the man survived. Officials declined to release the man's name at his family's request, but said he is expected to recover.
"I'm so glad he's alive," McCoy said Saturday night. "I know that God put me where I was supposed to be today. It's like I was his angel today."
Facebook used in 90 percent of divorce cases
WTSP News 10
9:46 AM, May 1, 2011
St. Petersburg, Florida - A St. Petersburg attorney says Facebook and social media are used in 90 percent of her divorce cases.
"You get a little bit of everything that happens on Facebook," said Carin Constantine.
"Everything from clients coming in with pictures of the opposing party doing a keg stand with high schoolers... to teenagers drinking alcohol served by a parent... to a picture of a husband at a nightclub dancing with a babysitter."
A recent survey by the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers found that Facebook is cited in one in five divorces in the United States. Also, more than 80 percent of divorce lawyers reported a rising number of people are using social media to engage in affairs.
"There are times when my paralegal and I sit in this office and laugh because people are stupid. They put things out there on the internet that can last forever," Constantine said.
Divorce attorneys are becoming internet gurus. Because websites like Yahoo and Google cache images as soon as they're put online, Constantine says she can find pictures from Facebook accounts that have been deactivated.
She simply goes to www.images.google.com, types in the person's name and searches through every single page of returns.
"Those pictures are still accessible by us, and we can still print them and we can still use them as evidence in your divorce case," Constantine said. And that printed piece of paper can be attached to a motion within the hour.
The best advice, aside from deactivating your Facebook account, is asking friends and family not to post any pictures of you online, even if they don't tag you.
"The problem is, if you've got 400 friends, I assure you one of those friends [doesn't] have all the privacy settings correct," she explained.
And she, along with thousands of other lawyers, can find it.
LINK TO VIDEO:
Comic-in-chief Obama roasts an irked Donald Trump at the annual White House Correspondents' Dinner
DAILY NEWS STAFF WRITER
Sunday, May 1st 2011, 4:00 AM
Just days after Obama released his long-form birth certificate, he skewered the GOP presidential hopeful for acting as the bogus birther movement's mouthpiece.
"No one is prouder to put this birth certificate matter to rest than The Donald," Obama said at the swanky black tie event. "And that's because he can finally get back to focusing on the issues that matter - like did we fake the moon landing? What really happened in Roswell? And where are Biggie and Tupac?"
The thousands of politicians, celebrities and journalists filling the Washington Hilton banquet hall burst out laughing. Trump, on the other hand, sat stone-faced.
The ribbing only got worse.
"All kidding aside," Obama continued, "obviously we all know about your credentials and breadth of experience. For example, seriously, just recently in an episode of 'Celebrity Apprentice,' at the steak house, the men's cooking team did not impress the judges from Omaha Steaks, and there was a lot of blame to go around.
"But you, Mr. Trump, recognized that the real problem was a lack of leadership and so ultimately, you didn't blame Lil Jon or Meatloaf - you fired Gary Busey.
"And these are the kinds of decisions that would keep me up at night," Obama said.
The crowd erupted in applause. Still Trump did not muster a smile.
"Saturday Night Live" comedian Seth Meyers also provided some big laughs.
Referencing the bizarre fashion on display at the British royal wedding, he noted "how wonderful it is" to live in a country "where people don't wear hats like that."
Among the many bold-faced names in attendance were actor Sean Penn, actress Scarlett Johansson, "Saturday Night Live's" Andy Samberg, hip-hop impresario Russell Simmons, former Gov. Eliot Spitzer, New York Knick Carmelo Anthony and his wife, LaLa Vazquez, and actress Mila Kunis.
NYPD Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly, recalling having to leave the dinner to deal with the Times Square car bomb attempt last year, said he was looking forward to a less eventful evening.
"I'd like to sit through the whole meal and the speeches," Kelly said
LINK TO VIDEO:
Hot dog! Bedford student gets dream ride to prom
Credit: Kylie Nellis / WFAA contributor
Ben Ross with date Molly Muchow are on their way to the prom in the Oscar Mayer Weinermobile.
April 30, 2011 at 10:19 PM
On Saturday night, he still made it to his prom in the vehicle of his dreams — a giant hot dog.
Ross was seriously injured while riding his motorcycle last month. While at his hospital bedside, his mom remembered Ben joking about going to the prom in the "Weinermobile."
So she launched an online campaign and convinced Oscar Mayer to send the distinctive hot dog-shaped vehicle to take Ben and girlfriend Molly Muchow to Saturday's prom at the Dallas Trade Center.
LINK TO PHOTO GALLERY:
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