Truesee's Daily Wonder

Truesee presents the weird, wild, wacky and world news of the day.

Saturday, January 31, 2009


Single Woman, 33, Who Gave Birth To 8 Babies Already Has 6 Children

 By Jessica Garrison, Andrew Blankstein and Jeff Gottlieb
January 30, 2009

The woman who gave birth to octuplets this week already has six young children and never expected that the fertility treatment she received would result in eight more babies, her mother said Thursday.

The woman, who has not been publicly identified, had embryos implanted last year, and "they all happened to take," Angela Suleman said, leading to the eight births Monday. "I looked at those babies. They are so tiny and so beautiful."

She acknowledged that raising 14 children is a daunting prospect.

"It's going to be difficult," Suleman added, noting that her daughter's father is going back to Iraq, where neighbors said he worked as a contractor, to help support the expanded family.

The mother of the octuplets lives on a well-kept cul-de-sac in Whittier, where more than a dozen reporters and camera crews descended Thursday.

Neighbors said she and her six children -- ages 7, 6, 5, 3 and 2-year-old twins -- live there with her mother. Her marital status is unknown. Family members did not answer the door, but when a reporter called the home asking for Suleman, she spoke briefly.

According to her account, when her daughter discovered that she was expecting multiple babies, doctors gave her the option of selectively reducing the number of embryos, but she declined.

"What do you suggest she should have done? She refused to have them killed," Suleman said as the sound of children could be heard in the background. "That is a very painful thing."

The information about the family came amid growing questions about the medical ethics of the case and how the woman came to carry eight babies to term.

Although the successful births at Kaiser Permanente Medical Center in Bellflower have received worldwide attention, they also have prompted disapproval from some medical ethicists and fertility specialists, who argue that high-number multiple births endanger the mother and also frequently lead to long-term health and developmental problems for the children.

Under the guidelines of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine, U.S. doctors normally would not implant more than two embryos at a time in a woman under the age of 35. After that age it is more difficult to become pregnant. The mother of the octuplets is believed to be 33, based on available public records.

The doctors who delivered the babies held a news conference Thursday in which they were peppered with questions about how the hospital handled the woman's pregnancy.

Hospital officials said the woman came to Kaiser already in her 12th week of pregnancy. They did not say where she received the fertility treatment.

Dr. Harold Henry, a member of the delivery team, said doctors counseled her regarding the options and risks -- among them aborting some of the fetuses.

"Our goal is to provide the best possible care, no matter what the situation or circumstances are," Henry said. "What I do is just explain the facts. I always talk about the risks. The mother weighs those options, and she chooses the option based on spiritual or personal makeup."

Henry said the eight children would "require quite a bit of resources. You need many diapers, bottles, car seats, food -- quite a bit."

Doctors, nurses and other medical personnel had planned for the births for months. They were expecting to deliver seven babies but discovered the eighth during delivery. It took only five minutes to deliver all eight by Caesarean section.

The births marked only the second time that octuplets had been successfully delivered in the United States.

At the news conference, Dr. Karen Maples read a statement from the mother in which she thanked the Kaiser staff for its help and support.

"We understand that you are all curious about the arrival of the octuplets, and we appreciate your respect for our family's privacy. Please know in our own time, we will share additional details about this miraculous experience," the statement said.

"The babies continue to grow strong every day and make good progress. My family and I are ecstatic about their arrival. Needless to say, the eighth was a surprise to us all, but a blessing as well."

"We thank all of you for the positive thoughts, prayers and generosity."

Already, Kaiser officials said, the mother is receiving gift baskets, sealed envelopes and flowers.

Times staff writers Esmeralda Bermudez, Janet Lundblad, Sam Quinones, Richard Winton and Alan Zarembo contributed to this report.



Octuplets' Family Filed For Bankruptcy

BELLFLOWER, Calif., Jan. 30, 2009


CBS)  CBS News has learned that the family of the octuplets born this week outside Los Angeles filed for bankruptcy and abandoned a home a little over a year-and-a-half ago.

Early Show national correspondent Hattie Kauffman says the mother is in her mid-thirties and lives with her parents.

There's been no mention of the octuplets' father, Kauffman observes.

The grandfather, she adds, is apparently going to head back to his native Iraq to earn money for the growing family. He told CBS News he's a former Iraqi military man.

Kauffman reported Thursday, and the octuplets' maternal grandmother now confirms to the Los Angeles Times, that
the babies' mother already had six young children.

And a family acquaintance had told Kauffman that two of the six other kids are twins, and the six range in age from about two to about seven.

The mother's name is still being kept under wraps.

But her mother, Angela Suleman, also tells the newspaper her daughter conceived the octuplets through a fertility program.

Suleman told the Times her daughter had embryos implanted and, "They all happened to take."

The Early Show Friday, the scientific director of an Atlanta-area fertility clinic blasted whichever clinic did the implantations, saying he's "stunned."

Doctors at the hospital where the octuplets were born, Kaiser Permanente Bellflower Medical Center in Bellflower, Calif., some 17 miles southeast of L.A., say the patient came to them already three months pregnant.

Asked at a news conference whether fertility assistance should be provided for a mother who already has multiple children, Dr. Harold Henry, part of the team that delivered the octuplets, said, "Kaiser has no policy on that, adding that doctors counseled the woman on her options.

"The options," said Henry, "were to continue the pregnancy or to selectively abort. The patient chose to continue the pregnancy."

Dr. Karen Maples, who also helped deliver the octuplets, read a statement from the mother saying, "My family and I are ecstatic about all of their arrivals."

The woman and her children live in a neighborhood of small, one-story homes, Kauffman reports, all with two-to-three bedrooms at most. Soon, she pointed out, there will be 14 children and at least three adults living in one of the homes -- until the grandfather heads back to his native Iraq,

Kauffman says unanswered questions include where the woman got the fertility treatments and how they were paid for.

On The Early Show Friday, Michael Tucker, scientific director of
Georgia Reproductive Specialists, says all these developments leave him "stunned. As the story's unfolded and it's gone from the potential use of just fertility drugs, or misuse thereof, to actual, apparently, IVF (in-vitro fertilization) with transfer of embryos, this is just remarkable to me that any practitioner in our field of reproductive medicine would undertake such a practice."

Tucker, who has a doctorate in reproductive physiology, says it's "absolutely" possible the octuplets' mother got pregnant with them by taking fertility drugs on her own without the help of a clinic, "and that seemed the most plausible scenario, simply because the profession, we're policed by the
American Society of Reproductive Medicine, has focused so minutely on the fact that we need to reduce the number of embryos that we transfer. We really are all about seeking the one, the one embryo that's going to make the healthy, single-born baby.

"And this kind of multiple plethora excess of babies is too much of a good thing. And it's rather a slap in the face of the whole profession, simply because it's going in the wrong direction.

"And it's unfortunate, because the media pick up on this and seem to go, I think, Arthur Kaplan from UPenn (University of Pennsylvania) said the media tend to go goo-goo gaga over this and, in fact, it's really a bit of a medical disaster."

"Had she walked into a fertility clinic and said, 'Listen, I've got other children, the oldest seven, the youngest two,' co-anchor Julie Chen asked Tucker, "is there any ethical responsibility on the clinic's part to say, 'I'm not going to treat you,' or, 'You know what? This is not a good idea?" '

"Suffice to say," Tucker responded, "I've been in this business for 25 years now. And it's pretty much standard practice in all clinics to have some form of psychological evaluation of the patient. Also, their sociological circumstances. And I'm stunned, actually, that a clinic would proceed to treat a patient in this circumstance and then even to get to perhaps the transfer of embryos and ponder the transfer in, I believe, the lady's mid-30s, a 35-year-old -- she should be receiving two embryos, maximum, as a transfer into her uterus to have had eight transferred is somewhat -- is extremely irresponsible."

Saturday, January 31, 2009


Electrician Accused of Stealing $13,500 in Power

Thu Jan 29, 4:28 pm ET

DERBY, Conn.  Derby police say an electrical contractor used his expertise for no good. Andrew Natale, 45, was charged with larceny for allegedly bypassing his home's electricity meter and stealing about $13,500 worth of power dating back to 2003.

Natale posted $2,000 bail and is set to be arraigned Monday in Derby Superior Court. A message was left for Natale at his home Thursday morning.

Authorities said the arrest was the result of an investigation by police and the United Illuminating Co. They say a field worker discovered the problem.

UI spokesman Al Carbone said the illegal bypass was disconnected and reinstalled periodically. He said bypassing meters is dangerous and could cause electrocution or a fire.

The Associated Press


Friday, January 30, 2009


$128,000 Found In Safe Sent To Be Destroyed


Fri Jan 30, 12:22 pm ET
An official of the Volksbank Bosnia branch presents a handful of newly-launched Reuters – An official of the Volksbank Bosnia branch presents a handful of newly-launched euro bank-notes in the …

BERLIN (Reuters) – Workers at a steel plant near Berlin found 100,000 euros ($128,500) in a safe that a bank had sent to be scrapped -- but they did the decent thing and gave it back.

An employee at Germany's Postbank had failed to take out the cash before sending the safe to the scrapyard. Spokesman Ralf Palm blamed "the carelessness of an employee when a branch office moved in December."


Friday, January 30, 2009


Bank Robber Charged With "Scaring Woman, 79" To Death

Associated Press
RALEIGH, N.C. (Jan. 29) -- Larry Whitfield was on foot, his getaway car wrecked, his rookie attempt at robbing a bank thwarted by a set of locked doors, according to detectives. Looking for a place to hide, police say, he found himself inside the home of a frightened old woman.
There's no evidence Whitfield ever touched 79-year-old Mary Parnell. Authorities say he even told the grandmother of five he didn't want to hurt her, directing her to sit in a chair in her bedroom. But investigators have no doubt he terrified her so much that she died of a heart attack.
Now Whitfield, a 20-year-old with no prior criminal record, is charged with first-degree murder, a rare defendant accused of literally scaring a person to death.
"He could've avoided all this by turning himself in, and life would've went on for Mrs. Parnell," said Capt. Calvin Shaw of the Gaston County Police Department, which handled the investigation.
Under a legal concept known as the felony murder rule, it's not uncommon for prosecutors to bring a murder charge against a defendant who doesn't intentionally harm a victim. The rule exists in some form in every state and lets authorities bring murder charges whenever someone dies during a crime such as burglary, rape, or kidnapping.
"If you're committing any of those offenses and a person dies, that's first-degree murder," said Locke Bell, Gaston County's district attorney and the prosecutor in Whitfield's case.
Prosecutors typically use the rule to charge all of the suspects with murder when, say, one of them shoots a teller during a bank robbery. But cases of prosecutors using the felony murder rule to charge a defendant with scaring someone to death are isolated.
Jurors convicted Willie Ingram in 1982 after 64-year-old Melvin Cooper died from a heart attack in his New York home, caused by what medical experts said was the "emotional upset" of a robbery attempt. Likewise, a Pittsburgh jury convicted Mark Fisher last year in the 2003 murder of 89-year-old Freda Dale, who medical examiners said died in her home from a fear-induced heart attack.
Whitfield is being held without bail, and his attorney and his family declined to comment. He's charged with several other crimes in addition to murder, and has not entered a plea. He faces life without parole if convicted.
Authorities said Whitfield and an accomplice, armed with semiautomatic rifles, planned to rob the Fort Financial Credit Union in Gastonia. The bank's staff locked its security doors as the men approached, leaving them stuck outside.
They fled but crashed on Interstate 85. Officials said the other man was caught shortly after the crash, while Whitfield ended up at Parnell's doorstep.
Parnell's husband came home from a funeral and found her around 4:30 p.m., slumped over in the chair. Whitfield, police say, had fled after Mary Parnell went into cardiac arrest and broke into another nearby home. He was arrested while walking in the neighborhood.
Parnell's autopsy report said she had an enlarged heart, was overweight and had advanced liver disease, kidney disease, hypertension, heart disease and was a diabetic, all of which were decided to be secondary factors. Dr. Steven Dunton, the deputy chief medical examiner in Dekalb County, Ga., said an autopsy finding of natural causes can be upgraded by what he calls an external environmental factor.
In Parnell's case, doctors listed her cause of death as a heart attack due to "stress during home invasion."
"There's nothing seen by the pathologist that would show a person died that way," Dunton said. "That's entirely from circumstantial information."
Legal experts said those circumstances will be crucial to winning a murder conviction. Prosecutors must show what Whitfield did inside Parnell's home caused her death, said Michael Tigar, a Duke University Law School professor.
"Jurors very often resent what they see as overcharging," Tigar said. "They resent lawyers who claim too much for their cases. In most cases, (lawyers have) stretched the analysis or theory in order to heighten punishment, and are often penalized by the jury because of it."
Parnell's family — four children, five grandchildren and her husband of 59 years, Herman — support the decision to seek a murder conviction, said the family attorney, H. Monroe Whitesides.
Whitfield, he said, "breaks into the house that she occupied with her husband for 59 years, and he kidnaps her and moves her to another room and she has a heart attack. And you think that this Whitfield character ... ought to be excused for that?"
Associated Press news researcher Julie Reed in Charlotte, N.C., contributed to this report.
Gaston County Jail / AP
Did He Scare Someone to Death? Police in Gaston County, N.C., charged Larry Whitfield, 20, with murder, accusing him of illegally entering an elderly woman's home and scaring her to death in the process. Whitfield was hiding in the woman's home after a failed bank robbery, police said.

Thursday, January 29, 2009


Man Caught Dealing Drugs in Police Station Restroom

The Associated Press


3:15PM EST

EVERETT, Wash. – Everett police said a 24-year-old man picked the wrong place to try to deal drugs — a stall in the police station restroom. Police Sgt. Robert Goetz said the man was overheard Wednesday using a cellular telephone to try to sell Oxycodone, a prescription painkiller, and other drugs.

Goetz said that as the man was leaving, he saw a gun-wearing plainclothes police sergeant who had overheard the call. The man asked if he was a probation officer.

Goetz said the man admitted trying to deal drugs and turned over his stash. He was jailed for investigation of illegal drug possession and intent to sell.

Goetz said the man is on probation from an attempted robbery conviction.


Thursday, January 29, 2009


Man Smuggles Feces Into Court Smears On His Lawyer's Face

Associated Press

1/28/09   3:15 PM EST

SAN DIEGO – A San Diego judge has declared a mistrial in a kidnapping and assault case after the defendant smeared excrement on his lawyer's face and threw it at jurors. The judge boosted defendant Weusi McGowan's bail from $250,000 to $1 million after the Monday incident.

Prosecutor Christopher Lawson says McGowan was upset because the judge refused to remove public defender Jeffrey Martin from the case.

McGowan had smuggled a bag of feces into court and spread it on Martin's hair and face before flinging the excrement at jurors. No jurors were hit.

McGowan has pleaded not guilty to kidnapping for robbery, assault with a deadly weapon and other counts in connection with a 2007 home invasion.


Wednesday, January 28, 2009


Woman Spends $50 Wins Million Dollar House

Woman Wins Million Dollar House in Raffle Thousands took a chance on winning a Maryland man's dream home


Updated 9:52 AM EST, Sat, Jan 24, 2009



Man sells 24,000 tickets to raffle off million-dollar home.




It was no ordinary raffle Friday for the 24,000 people who brought a $50 lottery ticket. They were playing for a chance to win a custom million-dollar home. The big drawing was held at Annapolis Mall.   Karen McHale of Idaho Springs, Co., was the big winner. 


"I couldn't believe it. I thought it was a crank call," McHale laughed during a phone interview Friday night from her Colorado home. "I'm one of those people that never win anything."

But win she did.

The prize is Tom Walters' 6,000-square-foot dream home in Edgewater, Md. Walters decided to raffle the house off after 15 months of construction and hundreds of thousands of dollars in renovations. His dream went bust when the economy tanked.

The home's property value plummeted at the same time Walters' paycheck shrank. When he could not find a buyer, Walters decided to raffle the house off. He sold 7,000 fewer tickets than he had hoped to. The tickets were sold online across the country and around the world.     

Winner McHale is a married chemical engineer and volunteer firefighter with two grown children. She has no plans to move to Maryland but she does hope to keep the house.

"Use it as a vacation home or rent it out maybe," said McHale.




YouTube - $50 House Raffle

Play Video
... house for $50!! Charity house raffle




Wednesday, January 28, 2009


Firefighter Charged With Taking Human Foot From Crash Scene

Tue Jan 27, 8:44 pm ET

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. – Authorities said the St. Lucie County firefighter who took a man's severed foot from an Interstate 95 crash scene last year has been charged with misdemeanor theft. The firefighter told the Florida Highway Patrol after the Sept. 19 crash that she took the remains to help train her cadaver dog. She eventually resigned from the St. Lucie County Fire District. She was arrested Monday.


FHP Lt. Tim Frith said the severity of a theft charge is usually determined by the value of what is stolen. Since there's no law specifically dealing with the theft of a body part, he said it was difficult to determine the monetary value of the foot.


The firefighter was released from jail on her own recognizance Monday afternoon.


Information from: The Stuart News,

Tuesday, January 27, 2009


Woman Arrested After Teaching Kids How to Shoplift


5:41 PM EST

LEHIGH ACRES, Fla. – Lee County authorities say a 24-year-old Lehigh Acres woman taught children how shoplift then abandoned them when the group was stopped. The woman was jailed on charges of contributing to the delinquency of a minor, child cruelty and larceny petit theft.

An investigator said the woman walked into a Lehigh Acres store with four children and showed a 12-year-old how to hide clothes underneath the other youngsters. The woman fled the scene when the investigator confronted the children. She was later arrested.

A Department of Children and Families spokeswoman said her agency will also investigate.


Information from: The News-Press,


Tuesday, January 27, 2009


Doctors Deliver 7 Babies Shocked by 8th Baby

Dan Whitcomb
7:32 AM EST

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – A California woman shocked doctors by giving birth on Monday to octuplets, believed to be only the second set of eight babies born in the United States.

The six boys and two girls were doing well and were in stable condition in the neonatal intensive care unit, said Dr. Karen Maples at the Kaiser Permanente Medical Centre in the Los Angeles suburb of Bellflower.

But two needed some help to breath with ventilators, she told a press conference.

The eight babies were born nine weeks prematurely by Caesarean section over a five-minute period, stunning a 46-member medical team that was expecting only seven babies.

They weighed between 1 pound 8 ounces (680 grams) and 3 pounds 4 ounces (1.47 kg) and doctors initially identified them by the letters A through H as they were born.

"We decided to proceed with the delivery in anticipation of seven babies. We had done some drills, some preliminary dry runs," Maples said.

"Lo and behold, after we got to Baby G, which is what we expected, we were surprised by Baby H."

Maples said she had been following the mother, who was not identified, since the first trimester of her pregnancy.

Citing patient confidentiality rules, the hospital declined to say whether the mother had become pregnant through fertility treatments, which can raise the likelihood of multiple births.

"It was a shock, especially with the eighth baby," Maples said.

The mother plans to breast feed all eight babies, her doctors said.

The last octuplets known to have survived in the United States were born in Houston in 1998, in that case six girls and two boys. One of the babies, a girl, died one week after birth.

(Reporting by Dan Whitcomb; Editing by Mary Milliken and John O'Callaghan)


Monday, January 26, 2009


Boy, 14, Wears Police Uniform Gets A Beat and Patrols Chicago

Posted 1/24/09 10:30 PM EST
CHICAGO (AP) — A 14-year-old aspiring police officer donned a uniform, walked into a Chicago police station and managed to get an assignment — patroling in a squad car for five hours before he was detected, police said Sunday.

The boy did not have a gun, never issued any tickets and didn't drive the squad car, Deputy Superintendent Daniel Dugan said.

Assistant Superintendent James Jackson said the ruse was discovered only after the boy's patrol with an actual officer ended Saturday. Officers noticed his uniform lacked a star that is part of the regulation uniform.

Police said they were investigating how the deception went undetected for so long in what they described as a serious security breach.

Police didn't identify the boy because of his age. He has been charged as a juvenile with impersonating an officer.

FIND MORE STORIES IN:  Chicago | Monique Bond

Dugan said the boy looks older than 14 and was motivated by a desire to be an officer, not malice or "ill intent."

The boy once took part in a Chicago program for youth interested in policing, so he would have been familiar with some procedures, perhaps helping him blend in, police spokeswoman Monique Bond said.

The Associated Press.

Monday, January 26, 2009


$70,000 Wedding Ring Flushed Down the Toilet

Posted on Sat, Jan. 24, 2009 01:57 PM


Associated Press Writer

This undated photo provided Saturday, Jan. 24, 2009 by Mike Roberts shows a 7-carat diamond ring that Roberts rescued after it fell in a toilet at the the Black Bear Diner in Phoenix, Ariz. It took eight hours and bills totaling more than $6,000, but the Arizona plumber became a hero to a California couple after retrieving the $70,000 diamond ring.
Mike Roberts
This undated photo provided Saturday, Jan. 24, 2009 by Mike Roberts shows a 7-carat diamond ring that Roberts rescued after it fell in a toilet at the the Black Bear Diner in Phoenix, Ariz. It took eight hours and bills totaling more than $6,000, but the Arizona plumber became a hero to a California couple after retrieving the $70,000 diamond ring.

Just a case of plumb luck.

It took a plumber to retrieve a woman's 7-carat diamond ring after city workers failed in efforts to flush the gem out of the pipes of a restaurant toilet.

The $70,000 wedding ring fell from Allison Berry's hand when she flushed the toilet in the restroom of the Black Bear Diner on Jan. 14, the plumber said. The ring plopped in and the water whisked it away, said Elena Castelar, the restaurant's shift manager.

City workers opened a pipe outside the restaurant and continuously flushed the toilet, hoping to push the ring out to the opening. When that didn't work, the city called the office in suburban Tempe of Mr. Rooter, a plumbing services franchise based in Waco, Texas.

"This is going to be like dredging for a treasure chest in the ocean," Mike Roberts, general manager of Mr. Rooter, said at the time.

Roberts guided a tiny video camera into the pipe with an infrared light attached. He eventually spotted the ring just 3 feet down and 5 feet over from where it was flushed.

Then it took an hour-and-a-half of jackhammering and pipe removal before Roberts and a technician could recover the ring, eight hours after it fell in the toilet.

"They always say diamonds are a girl's best friend. In this case, a plumber is a girl's best friend," Roberts said. "She was just so excited, she had tears in her eyes. She gave us a hug and said 'Thank you so much.'"

The Mr. Rooter bill came to $5,200 and the city's bill was $1,000.

Berry, of Eureka, Calif., and her husband also tipped Roberts and the technician $400 each and gave $200 to a diner employee for staying late.

Sunday, January 25, 2009


Man Drives off Cliff at National Monument Lands on Rock

A Ranger checks on a van Thursday that hangs with its rear wheels over the brink of a 180-foot precipice above Red Canyon in the Colorado National Monument.

Chris Tomlinson ©

A Ranger checks on a van Thursday that hangs with its rear wheels over the brink of a 180-foot precipice above Red Canyon in the Colorado National Monument.

A van teeters on a cliff side in Red Canyon in the Colorado National Monument Thursday afternoon.

Photo by Chris Tomlinson ©

A van teeters on a cliff side in Red Canyon in the Colorado National Monument Thursday afternoon.

Associated Press

Published January 22, 2009 at 2:40 p.m.

Related Links

GRAND JUNCTION — An outcropping of rock in the Colorado National Monument may have helped save the life of a man whose van came within a few feet of plunging into a canyon.

Authorities say the 34-year-old man drove some 120 feet off Rim Rock Drive in an apparent suicide attempt at about 4:30 p.m. Wednesday, but he called 911 after the van became stuck on the rock overhang.

His van careened into Red Canyon onto a rock overhang about six miles from the east entrance. Officials at the scene said if the van had missed the overhang by 10 feet, it would have plummeted the entire 300 feet to the bottom of the canyon.

“This was definitely not an accident,” Park superintendent Joan Anzelmo said. “We feel strongly that he intentionally drove himself off Rimrock Drive.”

More than two dozen members of the Grand Junction Fire Department and Mesa County Search and Rescue secured the teetering van, then lifted the man to safety. He was trapped for about two hours before being airlifted to St. Mary's Hospital at about 6:30 p.m.

Anzelmo said "it is but for the grace of God or a higher power" that the man survived.

His name was not released.

The Daily Sentinel contributed to this report



Canyon plunge driver suspect in child's rape

Grand Junction Daily Sentinel

Published January 24, 2009 at 9:21 a.m.
Updated January 24, 2009 at 9:21 a.m.


GRAND JUNCTION — A Clifton man who drove his van off a cliff in Colorado National Monument in an apparent suicide attempt is wanted by authorities in the sexual assault of a 4-year-old girl.

A judge Thursday signed a $60,000 warrant accusing Daniel John Lyons, 34, 477 32 1/8 Road, No. 4, of sexual assault on a child, sexual assault on a child in a pattern of abuse and other felony counts.

Mesa County Sheriff’s Department spokeswoman Heather Benjamin said Friday that Lyons will be arrested upon his release from St. Mary’s Hospital.

Lyons’ condition wasn’t available for release to the media Friday. Hospital spokeswoman Samantha Moe said Lyons isn’t listed in the hospital directory. Lyons declined to comment when reached by phone in his room Thursday.

Lyons’ van dropped off Rim Rock Drive on Wednesday and tumbled about 120 feet into Red Canyon, where it snagged on a rock ledge about 170 feet above the canyon floor. Mesa County Search and Rescue crews rappelled into the canyon and rescued Lyons. Monument Superintendent Joan Anzelmo said officials believe Lyons was trying to kill himself.

The incident happened less than four hours after investigators questioned him in connection with a series of sex assaults reported earlier this week.

The victim’s mother contacted the Sheriff’s Department on Monday. She told investigators that her daughter told her a few nights earlier that Lyons had molested her, according to an arrest warrant affidavit.

The 4-year-old told investigators Lyons assaulted her five times. She said Lyons told her not to tell anyone because he would go to jail, the affidavit said.

A second young girl reported that Lyons had tried to assault her but that she didn’t let him, the affidavit said.

Lyons went to the Sheriff’s Department for an interview at 1 p.m. Wednesday, and investigators said he admitted to sexually assaulting the 4-year-old twice. An investigator wrote in the affidavit that he told Lyons he would be seeking a warrant for Lyons’ arrest.

Lyons left the Sheriff’s Department after the interview. He dialed 911 on his cell phone at 4:30 p.m. to report he had driven off the monument but survived.

Lyons has been arrested at least four times on the Western Slope since 1996 on charges including burglary, assault, harassment, trespassing, criminal mischief and driving while ability impaired, according to Colorado Bureau of Investigation records.

The records show he pleaded guilty in 2004 to harassment and was sentenced to a year on probation. The disposition of the other cases was not immediately known.

The Rocky Mountain News

Saturday, January 24, 2009


Trash Collectors Find $100,000 In Abandoned Tire

Sat Jan 24, 2:36 pm ET

MOUNT COMFORT, Ind. – Three state highway workers cleaning up litter picked up an abandoned tire — and found about $100,000 inside.

Indiana state police suspect the cash, in denominations of $5 to $100, — may be drug money. State Police spokesman Mike Burns says a drug-sniffing dog found the scent of drugs on the bills.

Police said the workers found the tire Friday in a ditch along Interstate 70 just east of Indianapolis.

Police say the tire appeared to be from a large truck. It isn't clear how long it was in the ditch.

Detective Sgt. Keith O'Donnell commended the workers for their "honesty and professionalism" in contacting police.


Information from: The Indianapolis Star,


Saturday, January 24, 2009


Banker Gives Spankings to 50 Customers For Late Payments

Posted Thu Jan 22, 2009 3:50 PM EST

by MOEZILLA     

A legendary banking story turns out to be true

It It seemed like an urban legend -- but it's confirmed by a 1979 article in the L.A. Times. A Pennsylvania banker punished more than 50 customers who were late on their loan payments by...spanking them in his office.

In the tiny town of Baden, Pennsylvania (population 4,377), bank manager David Rhodes admitted that he'd spanked all 50 of the delinquent customers, bragging that it was effective because "I never had any trouble with them afterward."

The best part of the story? He was later convicted for "misappropriating" $88,000 in bank money -- and was sent to prison for three years.

The reason? "[H]e was forced to make eight unrecorded loans totaling $88,268 when six of those who were spanked threatened to report him to his superiors."

Rhodes had worked at the bank for 14 years, averaging about 1,500 loans a year. But most of the customers he spanked were men -- not middle-aged men, but younger -- and one of them threatened to report it as a homosexual activity. At the trial, Rhodes' attorney defensively presented polygraph results and psychiatric tests, saying later that "all undertones of homosexuality were disproved." (Rhodes was married and had two teenaged children.)

"Although he was aware the loans were illegal," the AP reported, "Rhodes said he didn't turn himself in because he didn't think the authorities would believe his story."

Jet magazine called him the "Banker Spanker," and provided one more crucial detail about his case. "He said he was glad when bank auditors caught up to the scheme." And the L.A. Times' site provides the ultimate epitaph, offering the "all-time great headline" which appeared in another newspaper.

Ex-banker, Spanker, Winds Up in Tanker.

Friday, January 23, 2009


New York Landlord Fined $10,000 for Taking Tenant's Toilet

The Associated Press
SPRING VALLEY, N.Y. (AP) — A New York landlord was fined nearly $10,000 for removing the toilet and other fixtures from a basement apartment to get his tenant to move out.

The Rockland Board of Health issued the fine to Fausto Pinos on Wednesday. He had been charged with 24 housing code violations for conditions in the building in Spring Valley, a town north of New York City.

"The people living there were subjected to appalling conditions that were not fit for human habitation," said Dr. Jeffrey Oppenheim, the health board's president. "It was just disgusting."

Pinos, of Bushkill, Pa., did not appear at the meeting, but his brother, Jesus Pinos, speaking on his behalf, said the landlord did not dispute the charges. He said Pinos thought that removing the toilet, bathtub, sink, oven and countertop would force the woman and her child to move.

County officials had been tipped off to problems in the apartment in early November by an agency that was trying to help the woman. Inspectors found numerous health and safety violations, including a roach infestation and sewage in the bathtub.

The Department of Health issued emergency violations letters to Fausto Pinos on Nov. 5, according to records. When inspectors visited the apartment again Nov. 17, they discovered that the toilet and other fixtures had been removed.

The tenant told inspectors that Pinos removed the items the day before and told her to leave. But she said she had no other place to go.

The Department of Social Services helped relocate the woman and her child.

There was no listing for a Fausto Pinos in Bushkill, Pa.

Friday, January 23, 2009


Broken Windshield Causes Woman To Win $1,000,000 Lottery

The Associated Press

Thu Jan 22, 9:29 pm ET

CLIFTON PARK, N.Y. – A broken windshield on her son's car turned out to be a lucky break for an upstate New York house cleaner. State lottery officials introduced 55-year-old Pamela Fitch of Mechanicville as the person who won $1 million on a Big Bucks instant ticket bought on Jan. 8 at a Stewarts Shops convenience store in Saratoga County.

Fitch, a self-employed house cleaner, said her son asked to her run to the store for him because his car windshield was broken. At the store, the clerk handed Fitch a Big Bucks ticket instead of the Jumbo Bucks instant ticket she asked for.

The grandmother of two said she decided to keep the Big Bucks ticket because her horoscope said she was going to win the lottery.

She'll receive $34,075 a year after taxes for 20 years.


Thursday, January 22, 2009


Obama Starring In Antacid Commercial

Obama starring in antacid commercial?

Obama starring in antacid comm... Channel:MSNBC Category:News

Thursday, January 22, 2009


Bus Driver Guilty of Braking Hard to Throw Unruly Kids Out of Seats

(01-21) 06:34 PST Huntley, Ill. (AP) --

An Illinois school bus driver has been found guilty of intentionally slamming on the brakes to throw misbehaving children from their seats.

A judge in Huntley, Ill., found Julieta Clinton guilty on Tuesday of reckless conduct and child endangerment as part of a plea deal in which Clinton did not admit guilt.

McHenry County prosecutors say Clinton was driving 54 youngsters to school last April when she became frustrated with their unruly behavior and braked hard twice.

Her attorney says it was an accident.

One youngster was treated at a hospital and 18 others were treated at the scene.

The children ranged in age from 5 to 10.

Clinton is scheduled to be sentenced on April 3. She could face up to a year in prison

Wednesday, January 21, 2009


Treasures Found Buried in Texas

Wed Jan 21, 11:03 am ET

The Associated Press

GALVESTON, Texas – A contractor helping clear debris from Hurricane Ike is looking for the owner of an ammunition box he found buried in sand that contained keepsakes, including an 1863 Confederate $50 bill, war medals and diamond earrings.

The green steel Army ammunition canister found by Michael Pate also held several clues that may help him confirm the owner: family photographs, a driver's license and a Social Security card.

Pate was working on a tractor equipped with a grappling arm, snatching storm debris from the sand at Galveston Island State Park, when he found the box Jan. 7.

"I was on the beach side about 100 to 150 feet from the water. I was raking the sand and saw this snake come out of the pile," he said in a story posted online Tuesday by The Galveston County Daily News. "It went right down beside this box."

The can's rubber seal perfectly preserved the treasures inside. Among the other items were dog tags, military medals, silver certificates, silver bracelets, watches, an Art Donovan football card and a glass Model A Ford radiator cap.

Pate is following up on a name listed on the driver's license.

"I thought it would be an encouraging story for the community," Pate said. "We've seen so much destruction."

Hurricane Ike walloped the upper Gulf Coast on Sept. 13, devastating Galveston and nearby counties.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009


2 Men Spend 25 Days on a Piece of Floating Ice In Shark Filled Waters

Richard Shears
January 20, 2009 11:38AM

Two men who drifted helplessly for 25 days in a large icebox through shark-infested waters have been rescued after a chance sighting by an aircraft crew.

The men were found desperately waving their shirts as an Australian Coastwatch plane flew across the Torres Strait, between Australia and Indonesia. The plane's crew called for a rescue helicopter.

After being winched up into the helicopter, the men identifying themselves as Burmese, told their terrifying story of how their fishing boat with 18 others  aboard  broke up in rough waters and everyone was thrown into the sea.

The pair are believed to be the only survivors.

The pair are believed to be the only survivors

Survivors: These two Burmese men waved their shirts at passing aircraft crew after floating around for almost a month in a giant icebox

'We are so glad you found us - we couldn't have lasted much longer,' the men told their rescuers after being hauled into the helicopter from the 5ft by 4ft box, used to store fish in ice.

It is understood the men managed to survive by drinking rain water that gathered at the bottom of the box and by eating pieces of fish that were also in the container.

As soon as they were hauled into the helicopter they gulped down fresh water that was offered to them.

'We drifted for hundreds of miles and although we think some ships saw us they didn't come to help.

'Even when the fishing boat we were on sent out distress signals, no-one responded and when the boat sank we had to grab what we could or we would drown.'

The men said the old and creaky fishing boat was some 200 nautical miles north of Australia when it began to break up and 'splintered into the ocean'.

Mandatory Credit: Photo by Channel 7/Newspix / Rex Features ( 838669b )
Mandatory Credit: Photo by Channel 7/Newspix / Rex Features ( 838669c )

The two fishermen were pictured in hospital last night. Though they have been pictured they still have not been identified

As the boat went down, the Burmese men climbed into the icebox as other crew members searched for something to hold on to as they slipped into the water.

'We saw a Thai man floating past us but we couldn't reach him to help.' 

The men said there were a total of 11 other Burmese crew and seven Thais on board - but so far no-one has been found.

Days and nights passed as the men, jammed in the ice box, drifted through shark infested waters, helpless to do anything but allow the tide to carry them along.

At times, they said, they feared they would be thrown out when the seas turned rough.

Finally they were spotted by the Coastwatch aircraft, which flies around northern Australia on the look out for illegal immigrants and fishermen illegally entering Australian waters.

The plane's crew summoned a rescue helicopter, which finally ended the men's ordeal.

The pair are believed to be the only survivors

The pair are believed to be the only survivors

Helicopter pilot Terry Gadenne told Australia's Channel 7: 'They were ecstatic to see us.

'When we winched down the rescue crewmen into the water, a guy in the esky (ice box) leaped out.

'He was desperately keen to get on board the helicopter. He was pretty keen to get away from the water.

'When they both got up they sculled (drank) two litres of water each within seconds.

'It's a bloody big ocean to be drifting around in.'

Tracey Jiggins, a spokeswoman for the Australian Maritime Safety Authority said the men could not have survived 25 days in the water without a floatation device

Tuesday, January 20, 2009


Man Found Burned In Apartment With No Sign Of Fire

Tenn. Officials Baffled After Man Suffers Severe Burns In Apartment With No Signs Of Fire


KNOXVILLE, Tenn., Jan. 20, 2009(AP)  Investigators are baffled as to how a man suffered second- and third-degree burns inside his apartment _ even though the only sign of a fire was a candle in the bathroom. Knoxville Fire Department crews found the 56-year-old victim inside his apartment bathroom Monday afternoon with third-degree burns to his face and second-degree burns to his hands.

Officials say they knocked on the door of the unit at Cagle Terrace Apartments, and went inside when they heard someone moaning.

The man, who was not identified, was later taken to a burn center for treatment.

Fire officials say their investigation is ongoing.


Information from: WVLT-TV,

Tuesday, January 20, 2009


$1 Million Found In Car After Traffic Stop

LAWRENCEVILLE, Ga. — Gwinnett County deputies found more than $1 million in cash in a car they had stopped for a traffic violation. Sheriff's spokeswoman Stacey Bourbonnais said the man was stopped Friday after deputies noticed he was swerving in and out of lanes.

While speaking to him, the man allegedly pushed a deputy and fled on foot. He was captured and charged with obstruction of a law enforcement officer.

The deputies then searched the vehicle and found the money, which was seized, in a duffel bag.

Information from: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Posted January 19, 2009 - 8:14 p.m. EST

Monday, January 19, 2009


Woman Missing 12 Years Found in Swiss Woods

Associated Press Writer
Posted: Monday, Jan. 19, 2009

BERN, Switzerland A German woman missing for 12 years has been found living in the woods on the outskirts of the Swiss capital with nothing more than an umbrella and tarpaulin for shelter, police said Monday.

The 52-year-old woman, whose name was undisclosed, appeared to be healthy after living in the simple shelter near the community of Bolligen for the past year.

Even the ranger who makes regular checks of the woods had failed to notice her before a hiker told police this month that he had seen a woman living there, said Juerg Mosimann, spokesman for the Bern police.

Bolligen's Mayor Rudolf Burger said he was told about the woman on Thursday and found her the next day in the makeshift tent she had constructed.

"She answered our questions and told us she didn't want any contact with her family," he said.

She conversed normally, but she also spoke of a mission that she had to fulfill, Burger added. He declined to elaborate.

Mosimann said it was unclear where the woman lived before she moved to the woods.

She is still living there, but the Bolligen Citizens Community that owns the woods will soon tell her she will have to leave, said community clerk Andreas Kohli.

"There's no point in waiting for months," Kohli said. "We are looking for an appropriate place for the woman in cooperation with the social services of Bolligen and the government of Bern."

The woman was reported missing in 1997 in a village near Potsdam, Germany, outside Berlin. She was identified with the aid of an information system shared by the 25 member nations of the so-called Schengen accord enabling passport-free travel in Europe.

Associated Press writer Michael Fichter contributed to this report.

Monday, January 19, 2009


Dad Told to Pay for Child's Birth or Wed Mom

Brian Bendetti

1/18/2009 7:18:51 PM 

FLINT, MI (AP) -- The state of Michigan is giving a father a choice: pay the medical cost of his daughter's birth or marry the girl's mother.

Gary Johnson was billed $3,800 for the birth of his daughter JaeLyn, The Flint Journal reported in Sunday online editions. Johnson is not married to the child's mother, Rebecca Witt.

The Michigan Legislature amended the state's paternity act five years ago to waive birthing costs for a father, if he married the child's mother. A year later, Witt gave birth to JaeLyn. The state paid for the hospital costs because Witt was on Medicaid at the time and is now trying to recover the money.

Jack Battles, the Genesee County Friend of the Court, said the law is an incentive to maintain the sanctity of marriage.

''It's totally up to them,'' said Battles, whose office enforces paternity rulings, child support and other aspects of family law. Until Johnson can produce a marriage license, ''they have to pay.''

Johnson and Witt said they want to marry eventually, but Witt said she wants her marriage date to be her choice.

''I don't think anybody should tell me when to get married,'' said Witt. ''I would like to have a nice wedding, and I can wait for it.''

Witt and Johnson said they have been struggling since the state started coming after Johnson for the hospital costs. Johnson said he was told he would be billed $500 a month and planned to meet with a caseworker to work out a solution.

''Losing just $10 hurts us,'' said Johnson, who makes $8 an hour at a Grand Blanc-area nursery. ''We don't have a car, we don't even have an oven.''

Johnson said he understood the state wants to promote marriage for parents but he respects Witt's position. ''It's a woman's dream to have the best wedding she can have,'' he said.

Sunday, January 18, 2009


Man Cuts Off Finger in Court Over Debt

Fri Jan 16, 12:31 pm ET

LISBON (Reuters) – A Portuguese businessman said he cut off one of his fingers in court with a butcher's knife in an "act of despair" after a judge refused his offer to settle a 170,000 euro debt and said part of his farm must be sold.

"My intention was to tear up all the case papers and splatter them with blood so I could prevent the expropriation order for my land," Orico Silva was quoted as saying in local media after his drastic action in the court house.

Silva, who owns a 20 hectare (50 acre) farm in the central town of Figueira da Foz, was being sued by a company for holding onto a cash deposit on a land deal which had fallen through, the local newspaper said.

"I freaked out when the judge refused my offer to pay the debt and ordered the sale of part of my land. I told her I had a 1.2 million euro bank guarantee which would have allowed me to pay the debt," Silva said.

When he went to take the bank papers from his briefcase, he noticed the butcher's knife he had recently bought at a market and decided to cut off his index finger, using a court desk as a chopping board. He then cut the finger into three.

"I didn't feel anything, I could even have cut off all my fingers. It was an act of despair," he said.

(Reporting by Shrikesh Laxmidas; editing by Tim Pearce)


Sunday, January 18, 2009


Tom Cruise Says Grew Up Wanting to Kill Hitler

By Angela Moon

Posted 1/18/09 3:27AM

SEOUL (Reuters) – Tom Cruise, who fails to assassinate Adolph Hitler in his new movie "Valkyrie," said he grew up really wanting to kill the Nazi leader.

In the World War II thriller based on a true story of the unsuccessful attempt by German soldiers to kill Hitler, Cruise plays Colonel Claus Von Stauffenberg who plants a briefcase bomb under a table at Hitler's military headquarters.

A heavy wooden table saves Hitler and Stauffenberg is executed with his co-conspirators.

"I always wanted to kill Hitler, I hated him," the Hollywood star of such major blockbusters as "Top Gun" and "Mission Impossible," told the press during a visit to Seoul to promote his latest film.

"As a child studying history and looking at documents, I wondered, why didn't someone stand up and try to stop it? When I read the script, it was entertaining and informative to know what the challenges were and what it was like to be in the environment."

Stauffenberg's legacy helped ease the burden of guilt about World War II and the Holocaust Germans still endure. But Germans had balked at the prospect of Cruise playing Stauffenberg as they objected to the actor's ties to Scientology, the movement founded in the 1950s by science fiction writer L. Ron Hubbard.

Germany, which does not recognise Scientology as a religion and regards it as a cult, made it difficult for the crew to film in the Bendlerblock building and courtyard where Stauffenberg was shot dead.

"I've never heard of this story before... It turned out to be an incredible adventure, just to be there and shoot at these locations that Stauffenberg was. It was a very powerful experience and hopefully it will communicate with the audience," the actor said.

"It has certainly influenced my life, just knowing that there were people who tried to stop him (Hitler)."

Valkyrie, directed by Bryan Singer, opened in the United States on December 25 and fared better than sceptics had predicted, reaching No. 4 in the North American box office ratings for the three-day weekend starting December 26. It opens on January 22 in Seoul for the first time in Asia.

(Editing by Bill Tarrant)


Saturday, January 17, 2009


Man Brings 12 Bags of Marijuana To Court House

Posted Friday, January 16th, 2009

Matthew Hensley

A man on his way into court for a drug possession charge was arrested after deputies say they found 12 bags of marijuana on him.

Jawarren Kamale Bethea, 20, was taken into custody Wednesday morning after officials found marijuana in his coat pocket, according to a sheriff's report.

"He came through and the person at the front door could smell marijuana," Investigator Jon Edwards said.

The investigator said Bethea was pulled aside and a search revealed that he had 12 bags of marijuana.

Sheriff Shep Jones said that this is not a common occurrence.

"Usually, people know they have to get clearance at front door security," Jones said. He added that some people do come in with weapons that they leave at the door, but generally it is something people need for their job.

According to Edwards, Bethea denied that the marijuana was his, claiming the coat belonged to someone else. Bethea also told investigators he was not under the influence of marijuana, even if he did smell of the drug.

Bethea, of Corona St. in Laurinburg, was charged with possession with the intent to sell and deliver a schedule VI controlled substance. He was placed in Scotland County jail under a $1,000 secured bond.

According to the North Carolina Court System website, Bethea was appearing in court for a possession of marijuana charge.

He is scheduled to appear in court today for the new charges.

Bethea is also scheduled to appear on Jan. 20 for carrying a concealed weapon without a permit and on Feb. 17 for driving without a license, according to the website.

Saturday, January 17, 2009


Shoplifter Gets Run Over Twice by Her Getaway Car

Fri Jan 16, 8:22 pm ET

CAPE CORAL, Fla. – Authorities are looking for a shoplifter who was run over twice by her getaway car after stealing $1,200 worth of designer purses from a Cape Coral store. A T.J. Maxx security guard told police she saw a woman stuff six designer Dooney & Bourke purses into her pants Tuesday morning and walk out of the store. The guard said she was confronting the woman when a car pulled up.

A report said the shoplifter tried to get into the vehicle but fell out and was run over by the car. She then got up and jumped onto the hood of the car. As the car was driving away, the report said the woman fell off and was run over again. On her third attempt, she finally made it into the vehicle.

Police are using the car's license plate and a check the woman dropped to track her down.

The Palm Beach Post,

Friday, January 16, 2009


Firm Hires Witch to Hunt Debt Dodgers

January 16, 2009


The Associated Press

VILNIUS, Lithuania - In these difficult times for creditors, a Lithuanian debt collector is offering an unconventional service to retrieve arrears: witchcraft.

The Vilnius-based firm has hired Vilija Lobaciuviene, the Baltic nation's most famous self-styled witch, to hunt down companies and individuals who are failing to pay their debts amid the credit crunch.

"There are certain people, who are using this crisis situation and refuse to pay back banks or other companies," said Amantas Celkonas, director of the Skolu Isieskojimo Biuras, or debt collecting bureau.

"Our new employee will help them to understand the situation, reconsider what is right and wrong and act accordingly," he said. "We will also help those who are in real trouble, suffering from psychological impact of bankruptcy and depression."

Lobaciuviene, who describes herself as "Lithuania's leading witch," is renowned in the former Soviet republic of 3.4 million people for providing such "magical" services as predicting the future and casting spells. She claims to use hypnosis, herbal medicines and "the bio-energy field" when helping her "patients."

Asked to comment on her new job, Lobaciuviene, 53, told The Associated Press on Thursday that she is happy to be of assistance.

"I am free citizen and can do whatever I like. I am glad someone needs my help and I will do whatever I can to help people," she said.

Local pundits, however, ridiculed the agency's move.

"This is return to the Dark Ages. If they really believe that this woman may help someone get money back, then there's something very wrong with this country," said columnist Monika Bonckute.

Friday, January 16, 2009


You Can't Fire Me, I'm Drunk!

Thur Jan 15, 3:21 pm ET

LIMA (Reuters) – Peru's top court has ruled that workers cannot be fired for being drunk on the job, a decision that was criticized by the government on Wednesday for setting a dangerous precedent.

The Constitutional Tribunal ordered that Pablo Cayo be given his job back as a janitor for the municipality of Chorrillos, which fired him for being intoxicated at work.

The firing was excessive because even though Cayo was drunk, he did not offend or hurt anybody, Fernando Calle, one of the justices, said on Wednesday.

Calle said the court would not revise its decision, despite complaints from the government.

"It's not a good idea to relax rules at workplaces," said Labor Minister Jorge Villasante.

Celso Becerra, the administrative chief of Chorrillos, a suburb of Lima, denounced the ruling.

"We've fired four workers for showing up drunk, and two of them were drivers," he said. "How can we allow a drunk to work who might run somebody over?"

(Reporting by Marco Aquino; Writing by Terry Wade; Editing by Dana Ford)


Thursday, January 15, 2009


Boy's Tongue Stuck on Pole

01/15/09 3:02PM EST

HAMMOND, Ind. – In a scene straight out of the movie "A Christmas Story," a 10-year-old boy got his tongue stuck to a metal light pole. Police said the unidentified fourth-grader was able to tell them that a friend dared him to lick the pole Wednesday night. Temperatures in Hammond were around 10 degrees at the time.

By the time an ambulance arrived, the boy was able to yank his tongue off the frozen pole.

Police said ambulance personnel explained to the boy's mother how to care for his bleeding tongue.

The 1983 movie is set in a fictional city based on Hammond, the hometown of author Jean Shepherd.


Information from: The Times,


Thursday, January 15, 2009


Robber Mistakes Building For Bank Demands Cash

Wed Jan 14, 8:34 pm ET

NICHOLASVILLE, Ky. – Police said a man showed a gun and tried to rob a bank, but he wasn't in one. The Jessamine South Elkhorn Water District has offices in what was formerly a branch of Farmers Bank. City police spokesman Scott Harvey told the Lexington Herald-Leader a man came into the building Tuesday, showed a pistol and demanded money.

When an employee told the man the office really didn't have any money, the confused would-be robber replied, "I know you have money. It's a bank."

He was told it was no longer a bank and he left with nothing.

Harvey said the office takes payments for water bills, but doesn't have anything worth stealing.

Information from: Lexington Herald-Leader


Wednesday, January 14, 2009


NJ Kids With Nazi-Inspired Names Removed From Home

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

In this Tuesday, Dec. 16, 2008 file photo, Heath Campbell...

(01-14) 13:20 PST HOLLAND TOWNSHIP, N.J. (AP) --

Three New Jersey siblings whose names have Nazi connotations have been placed in state custody, police said. The children, ranging in age from 3 to under 1, were removed from their home Friday. They drew attention last month when a supermarket bakery refused to put the name of the oldest — Adolf Hitler Campbell — on a birthday cake.

State workers didn't tell police why the children were taken, police Sgt. John Harris said.

A spokeswoman for the state Division of Youth and Family Services, Kate Bernyk, said she would not comment on any specific case, but she said the state would not remove children from a home simply because of their names.

A family court hearing is scheduled for Thursday. Court officials said the matter is sealed and they could not release information about what might be decided at the hearing.

The other two children, both girls, are JoyceLynn Aryan Nation Campbell and Honszlynn Hinler Jeannie Campbell.

The father, Heath Campbell, had no comment when contacted by The Express-Times of Easton, Pa. The Associated Press could not locate a working telephone number for the family Wednesday.


Information from The Express-Times of Easton, Pa.,

Wednesday, January 14, 2009


Alaskan Convicted Sex Offender Who won Lottery Attacked on Anchorage Street

By James Halpin 

McClatchy Newspapers

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

ANCHORAGE, Alaska — The man who won the state’s first half-million-dollar lottery was attacked on a downtown street Tuesday afternoon with a tire iron or metal pipe, according to Anchorage police.

Police say Alec Ahsoak, 53, was attacked when a man approached him to ask if he was the man who won the $500,000 jackpot.

Whether the attack was motivated by Ahsoak’s winning the lottery or the widely distributed reports that he is a three-time convicted sex offender was unclear.

"There was no apparent attempt at robbery," police Lt. Dave Parker said. "He was struck eight to 10 times, and then he threw his Pepsi at the assailant and he ran for Phyllis’ Cafe and the assailant ran off."

By Tuesday evening, Ahsoak had been discharged from the hospital and police had taken a man and a woman into custody, Parker said. The man was being questioned by police and had not yet been charged with a crime, he said.

Ahsoak told officers he had been stopped by a white man believed to be about 21 and wearing a blue-and-white checked shirt, blue jeans and a white baseball cap as he entered the 5th Avenue Mall. The stranger asked if he was the lottery winner, and Ahsoak said he was, then went into the mall.

When he walked out minutes later carrying a Pepsi, the man approached him and began hitting him on the head with the weapon, police said.

Ahsoak was transported to a local hospital to be treated for his injuries, which did not appear to be life-threatening, police said.

"There were injuries to his head — lacerations, that kind of stuff," Parker said. "Nobody knows how bad it is until doctors do their job, but he was talking and able to communicate with the officers."

Police were continuing to comb the area for the assailant. There were "loads of witnesses" to the attack, but none of them were immediately able to identify the man, Parker said. It did not immediately appear that the attack had been caught on any surveillance cameras, he said.

Ahsoak came forward as the lottery winner Saturday, and reports that he is a convicted sex offender were soon publicized by a local television station and picked up by other outlets, including the Anchorage Daily News. By Monday, Ahsoak’s victims were telling the media they thought Ahsoak should not benefit from the lottery, which was conducted by Lucky Times Pull Tabs to benefit the nonprofit Standing Together Against Rape.

"Oh my God, I was so afraid something was going to happen to him," said Nancy Haag, executive director of Standing Together Against Rape. "I’m just very sorry to hear that this has happened. ... Nobody deserves to be a victim of any kind of violence, and that’s our stand."

Asked whether the media should have publicized that Ahsoak was a convicted sex offender, Haag said, "I think it put him, obviously, at greater risk because there are people who like to take justice into their own hands."

Ahsoak was convicted in 1993 of molesting two girls under the age of 13. He was sentenced to four years in prison, according to court records.


In March 2000, police arrested him again for molesting a different young girl he was baby-sitting. Through a plea bargain, Ahsoak was sentenced to six years in prison on a single count of sexual abuse of a minor. Prosecutors in that case dropped another sex abuse charge and a charge of failing to register as a sex offender.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009


Father and Son Arrested for Cutting to the Front of Line

1/13/09 9:23 pm

MUNCIE, Ind. – A 26-year-old man and his father were arrested after an off-duty Muncie police officer complained about the man cutting in line at a Wal-Mart store. Police reports said Edward R. Pluhar Jr. of Frankfort cut to the front of the line at the Wal-Mart service desk Sunday. What he didn't know was that Officer Chris Kirby was waiting in the line.

Kirby said Pluhar refused when Kirby asked him to wait his turn. Pluhar's father, 61-year-old Edward R. Pluhar Sr., then asked Kirby if he wanted to step outside. That's when Kirby reportedly told the men he was a police officer.

Kirby followed the men into the parking lot where they scuffled. Other officers arrived and arrested both Pluhars. They were released after posting bond.

Pluhar Sr., however, gave a different version of events leading up to his arrest.

"There's a lot more to the story," he said.

He said his son had waited in line for 25 minutes once and been sent by a clerk to exchange an item. When he returned, Pluhar Sr. said the clerk waved his son to the front of the line, and Kirby objected.

He said his son tried to explain the situation, but Kirby insulted him, at which point Pluhar Sr. asked Kirby to step outside but Kirby laughed at him. Pluhar Sr. also denied Kirby's claim that the older man threatened to shoot him. He said he and his son tried to walk away from the confrontation, but Kirby followed them outside.

Pluhar Sr. said Kirby never identified himself as a police officer and he only found out he was an officer from other police at the scene.

"What I did was wrong, but that doesn't make what he did right," Pluhar said.

Edward R. Pluhar Jr. was preliminarily charged with battery on a police officer, while his father was arrested on charges of intimidation and criminal recklessness with a weapon. Police said Pluhar backed into Kirby's leg as he attempted to leave the parking lot while Kirby was standing behind the vehicle.


Tuesday, January 13, 2009


Appeals Court Rules Ex-Wife's Alimony Cut Off Because She Was Assigned A Cellmate

The Kansas City Star - Jan 12 8:30 PM

Andrew Craissati of Palm Beach Gardens had challenged paying alimony to his former wife, Patricia, arguing that their agreement called for him to pay only until her remarriage or if she "cohabitated" with another person for more than three months.


Patricia Craissati


Patricia Craissati, 48, was later sentenced to prison.

The 4th District Court of Appeal ruled Wednesday that she is indeed "cohabitating" - with her cellmate.

Two members of the three-judge panel concurred and ordered her alimony payments stopped. A third dissented, writing Craissati's involuntary assignment to a cellmate is not cohabitation. "I would affirm the trial court's reasoning that this is an absurd result," wrote Judge Larry Klein.

The couple divorced in 2001. In 2005, Patricia Craissati was sentenced to nine years in prison for a DUI accident which severely injured two men. She is at Hillsborough Correctional Institution on the west coast.

Her attorney, Steven Cripps, said when he first heard of the ex-husband's argument that she was cohabitating with a cellmate he said: "Are you kidding me? You are going to take advantage of this situation and do this?"

Cripps says she's been receiving just over $2,000 a month in alimony while in prison. He said he will ask for a rehearing before the appeals court.

"It goes to show the most winnable case is losable and the most losable case is winnable," said the attorney of 29 years.

Andrew Craissati, a self-employed investment banker from West Palm Beach, said an uninformed person might consider his actions mean, but that there are many factors people don't know about. For one, he has had to pay as her house has sat empty because she did not want to rent it out. He called his victory "bittersweet."

"Everything about this case is just so sad," Craissati said.

His attorney, Lewis Kapner, said the ruling is grounded in the general language of the couple's agreement - cohabitation simply defined as living with another person for more than three months.

"The facts of the situation are novel. The law is not," Kapner said. "You can say cohabitation is wearing a blue dress. But that's the agreement."

Monday, January 12, 2009


Council Tells Couple They Are Too Fat To Adopt

On Line (BBC Radio 5 Live/PA)

January 12, 2009

A married couple have spoken of their shock after being turned down to adopt on the grounds that one of them is too fat.

Damien and Charlotte Hall approached Leeds City Council about adoption after discovering that they were unable to have children of their own.

They were told that Mr Hall’s size, at six foot one and a weight of 24-and-a-half stone (156kg), made him morbidly obese, with a body mass index (BMI) of more than 42.

In a letter, the council told them his BMI must be below 40 before the couple could be considered as potential parents because of a risk he could become ill or even die.

“I am writing to confirm that we are unable to progress an application from you at this time. This is due to the concerns that the medical advisers have expressed regarding Mr Hall’s weight,” the council wrote.

Today the couple, who have been together for 14 years and married for 11, said they felt the ruling was harsh.

“The bottom line is I’m too fat. I just feel as though we were only judged on my weight and not all the other good things about us," said Mr Hall, 37, who works in a call centre.

“We don’t drink or smoke and we could give a child a happy and safe home.”

Mrs Hall, 31, a nanny, agreed: “I think it’s just gutting. We had an inkling they’d say something about (his) weight but to be turned down flatly just on that, it’s just harsh.

“My husband has a full-time job and is very active. He walks our dog at least twice a day and doesn’t feel unfit or unwell.

“You’ve got a child in care who’s going to get up tomorrow morning not knowing where it’s going, and we’re here ready to take a child on. They seem to be saying it’s better for them to be in care and being shoved from pillar to post just in case Damien dies.”

The council said that it would only relent if Mr Hall demonstrated that he had taken off and could keep off the weight.

“We will require Mr Hall to have a further medical in six months’ time, which will be considered by our medical advisor," it said in its letter

“As you are aware, the Adoption Panel are unlikely to approve applicants with a BMI over 40 because of the long-term health risks. It would therefore be to your advantage to begin the assessment with an up-to-date medical where your BMI is clearly recorded as being under 40, and to demonstrate that you are able to maintain this weight loss over the period of the assessment.

"I would be grateful if you could contact me when you feel you are ready to continue with the process taking into account the above advice.”

The Department for Children, Schools and Families said it did not issue guidance on maximum weight for potential adopters to local authorities.

In a statement the council said: “The council’s adoption service has a legal responsibility to ensure that children are placed with adopters who are able to provide the best possible lifelong care.

“Part of this responsibility is advice for applicants on a range of suitability criteria, including any health and lifestyle issues which may impact on an applicant’s long term ability to adopt.

“Expert advice on health and medical issues for applicants is provided by medical advisors to the council’s adoption service, in line with BAAF (British Agencies Adoption and Fostering) guidance.

“Mr and Mrs Hall’s application to adopt is still active and they have been given advice on how best to proceed regarding this issue.”

Monday, January 12, 2009


107 Year Old Woman Looking for 1st Husband

January 12, 2009 12:05 AM

BEIJING (Reuters) - A 107-year-old Chinese woman who was afraid to marry when she was young has decided to look for her first husband and hopes to find a fellow centenarian so they will have something to talk about, a Chinese paper reported.


Wang Guiying is worried she is becoming a burden to her aging nieces and nephews since breaking her leg when she was 102 and had to stop doing chores like washing her clothes.


"I'm already 107 and I still haven't got married," the Chongqing Commercial Times quoted her saying. "What will happen if I don't hurry up and find a husband?"


Born in southern Guizhou province the child of a salt merchant, Wang grew up watching her uncles and other men scold and beat their wives and often found her aunt crying in the woodshed after an attack, the paper said.


"All the married people around there lived like that. Getting married was too frightening," she said of an era when Chinese women had few rights and low social standing.



Many also had their feet bound in an excruciating process aimed at making them look more dainty and marriageable.


After Wang's father, mother and older sister died, she still shied away from marriage. Instead she moved to the countryside and survived as a farmer until she was 74 years old and no longer strong enough to work in the fields, the report said.


Her nephew in the booming city of Chongqing then took Wang in, but she is worried he and her other nephews and nieces are too old to take care of her now even the youngest is 60.


"My nephews and nieces are getting older and their children are already tied up with their own families and I am becoming more and more of a burden," she said.


Local officials have said they are happy to help Wang search for a 100-year old groom, and suggested her family get in touch with old people's homes to find candidates, the paper said.


(Reporting by Emma Graham-Harrison; Editing by Nick Macfie and Sugita Katyal)

Sunday, January 11, 2009


Woman Thinks She Will Win Then Wins $500,000 In Lottery

Fri, Jan. 09, 2009


The Wichita Eagle

Sandra Vines thought she might win something.

She did: $500,000 in an instant scratch game by the Kansas and Iowa lotteries.

"I just felt it," the Wichita woman told Midwest Millions lottery officials Friday when contacted by phone after the drawing.

"I'm going to use this prize money to buy a house," the 45-year-old single mother of five children said.

Vines attends Baker University and starts a new job Monday at Via Christi Hope in Wichita.

She said she submitted four to five entries for the drawing.

Saturday, January 10, 2009


Masked Man Waited In Line to Rob Bank With Toy Gun

The Associated Press

Fri, Jan. 09, 2009 02:25 PM

A man may have tipped his intentions when he stood in line at an Ohio bank wearing a ski mask before staging a holdup. Police in Stow near Akron say 24-year-old Feliks Goldshtein of Highland Heights was arrested minutes later on Thursday following a brief car chase.

Police say the teller asked the man to take off the mask before being served. At that point the man displayed what turned out to be a toy gun and told the teller to give him all the money. He made off with an undisclosed amount.

Police Captain Rick Myers says it's unusual for a masked robber to wait in line at a bank.

Goldshtein was held at the Summit County Jail Friday on charges of aggravated robbery and failure to comply with a police order. Municipal Court records don't identify an attorney for Goldshtein.


In this booking mug shot released by Stow (Ohio) Police Department, Feliks Goldshtein is shown, Thursday, Jan.8, 2009. A  bank robber  may have tipped his intentions when he stood in line at an Ohio bank wearing a ski mask before staging a holdup. Police say a teller asked the man, identified by police as Goldshtein, to take off the ski mask he was wearing iff before being served. At that point the man displayed what turned out to be a toy gun and told the teller to give him all the money.
Stow Police Department
In this booking mug shot released by Stow (Ohio) Police Department, Feliks Goldshtein is shown, Thursday, Jan.8, 2009. A bank robber may have tipped his intentions when he stood in line at an Ohio bank wearing a ski mask before staging a holdup. Police say a teller asked the man, identified by police as Goldshtein, to take off the ski mask he was wearing iff before being served. At that point the man displayed what turned out to be a toy gun and told the teller to give him all the money.

Friday, January 9, 2009


Doctors Left Knife In Woman's Head

McQueen Was Victim Of Stabbing Incident In 2005


UPDATED: 10:42 am EST January 7, 2009


JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- A Jacksonville woman plans to sue Shands-Jacksonville Medical Center after she said part of a knife was left behind in her head, local television station WJXT reported.


A good look at an X-ray of Edith McQueen's head reveals an object next to the her jaw bone. That object, according to the woman's attorney, is a piece of a knife from an attack that took place more than three years ago.


"Somehow, some way, the knife was left in her head. She presented to the emergency room for treatment from the stab wounds to the head, and they were simply stitched up and Mrs. McQueen was sent home," said McQueen's attorney, Chad Roberts.


In August of 2005, McQueen was stabbed twice from behind in a random act of violence. According to her discharge papers from the hospital, the woman was treated and released the next day after the stab wound was cleaned and sutured loosely and she was listed in stable but good condition.


"A simple X-ray is comparatively easy, inexpensive and accessible, and you would think that a stab wound would probably justify a $25 or $50 X-ray to make sure no foreign body, either dirt or gravel or some foreign object, remained in the wound site, but apparently that didn't happen," Roberts said.


Roberts said his client ended up going back to Shands because she complained of headaches and was scheduled to have an MRI. That's when they made the discovery through an X-ray that the blade was still inside her head.


Shands-Jacksonville Medical Center released a statement saying, "We will not discuss the particulars of any patient's confidential healthcare services."


Shands said it did not know about the lawsuit until the media contacted them on Tuesday.


Roberts said his client's lawsuit is still in the investigative phase and has yet to be filed. He said he hasn't talked to Shands about removing the blade, but he hopes they will plan to do so.

Friday, January 9, 2009


Funeral Home Used As Meth Lab Across The Street From Sheriff's Office

10:23 pm ET Thu January 08, 2009 - WALNUT RIDGE, Ark.


A funeral home might be a place for eternal rest, but police say an Arkansas man saw an opportunity to build a methamphetamine lab undisturbed by the living. There was just one problem - the funeral home was across the street from the sheriff's office. Officers said Robert Lee Lewis, 43, left the light on in the basement of the Higginbotham Funeral Home in Walnut Ridge on Dec. 3. Officers noticed the light on after hours and walked into the funeral home through an open door. Inside, police said they found all the components necessary to build a meth lab. Officers arrested Lewis, a former employee at the funeral home, when he returned.

Lewis faces charges of possession of drug paraphernalia with intent to manufacture, possession of drug paraphernalia with intent to use, manufacture of methamphetamine and possession of pseudoephedrine with intent to manufacture. He is free on $2,500 bond, pending a Jan. 21 court hearing.

A telephone number for Lewis could not be found Thursday night.

Thursday, January 8, 2009


School Bus Driver buys Liquor Ask A Student to Hide it After Police Stop

The Associated Press

1/08/09   02:44 PM

BILLINGS, Mont. – A school bus driver made an unscheduled stop at a liquor store, then allegedly asked a student to help hide her purchases when police stopped her, the district superintendent said. It does not appear the driver had been drinking, Billings Public Schools Superintendent Jack Copps said. No charges had been filed but the driver quit her job this week.

 Copps said someone spotted the bus at the liquor store on Dec. 12 and called authorities. No students were on the bus at the time, he said.

 By the time officers caught up with the bus, the driver had picked up some middle school students and allegedly asked one student to hide a paper bag with bottles of alcohol near the back of the bus, Copps said.

 Copps said the school immediately notified its bus contractor, First Student, that the woman was not to transport any of the district's students.

 School district policy prohibits alcohol on school property or in vehicles transporting students. Copps described the incident as "embarrassing."


Thursday, January 8, 2009


Man Trapped In Bathtub for 5 Days

Wed Jan 7, 9:16 PM

The Associated Press

SALT LAKE CITY - An 82-year-old man who slipped and fell in the bathtub of his Salt Lake City home says he was trapped there for five days.


Lou Beddow was found Tuesday by a neighbour who noticed Beddow hadn't been walking his dog for a while. The retired postal carrier says he survived on tap water after he slipped and fell in the tub Friday.


Salt Lake City Fire Department spokesman Scott Freitag says Beddow was hospitalized in serious condition and may have suffered compression injuries.


Police in a Milwaukee suburb say they also found an elderly woman who fell in her bathtub.


The 86-year-old woman from Cudahy was discovered Tuesday and says she was trapped for four days.


She was hospitalized, but her condition is not known.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009


Angry Man Opens Neighbor's Door With Chain Saw

The Associated Press
1/07/09  04:30 PM EST
SCRANTON, Pa. -An eastern Pennsylvania man may face up to 37 years in prison for tearing open a neighbor's door with a chain saw. Police say 34-year-old Robert Kane began sawing through the front door of Jamie Zaleski's apartment in Scranton while Zaleski and several friends ran out the back.
Kane was angry because a friend of Zaleski's parked in front of his house across the street. Police said when Zaleski asked who was at the door, Kane said it was his worst nightmare, told him, "Open the door or I'll cut it down," and started sawing.
A jury convicted Kane on Tuesday of charges including attempted burglary, attempted criminal trespass and terroristic threats.
He was held in lieu of $20,000 bail. A sentencing date wasn't immediately set.
The Scranton Times

Wednesday, January 7, 2009


Boy, 11, Missing for 10 Years Never Reported Until Now


January 6, 2009
EL DORADO, Kan. (Jan. 6) - The Kansas parents who failed to report their 11-year-old adopted son missing nearly a decade ago are "people of interest" as authorities search for him nationwide, a sheriff said Monday.
Investigators only recently learned Adam Herrman was missing and are focused on finding him, Butler County Sheriff Craig Murphy said. Adam was 11 when he disappeared in 1999 from a mobile home park in Towanda where he lived.

Authorities would not say whether they believed Adam, who would now be 21, is alive.  "We are working it as if it is a death but we are not leaning one way or the other," Murphy said.

The family's attorney, Warner Eisenbise, said his clients did not harm the child. He said the Herrmans are innocent of any wrongdoing other than not reporting their son missing, which is against Kansas law.

Doug and Valerie Herrman adopted Adam at 2 1/2 years old, and he had been in foster care before that. The parents have not been arrested or charged with any crime, and Murphy said no charges would be filed while investigators focused on the search.

"He was a problem child. He ran away frequently to the point of exasperation," Eisenbise said. "My clients feel very guilty that the last time he left they didn't make an attempt to locate him. Every other time, the police were called or he wandered back. They assumed he found one of his siblings or went back to his biological parents."


Murphy said investigators have not confirmed whether Adam had a history of running away. The family has cooperated with investigators, he said.


Adam was homeschooled when he disappeared, Eisenbise said.

Murphy said a search of the empty lot where the family's mobile home once stood gave investigators one answer they sought, but he did not elaborate other than to say no human remains were found.

Murphy's office did not receive a missing persons report until contacted recently by Sedgwick County's exploited and missing children's unit. He declined to say who tipped them off. It was not clear exactly when they learned of the boy's disappearance.

Murphy said a search of the empty lot where the family's mobile home once stood gave investigators one answer they sought, but he did not elaborate other than to say no human remains were found.
The Herrmans now live in the Wichita suburb of Derby, in neighboring Sedgwick County. 

Investigators have not found any confirmed data on Adam's whereabouts since 1999.

Murphy asked the public for help and issued a plea to the missing boy himself: "If Adam Herrman is alive out there — and he would see this — I would ask him to

contact us immediatelyThis age progression image provided by National Center for Missing ...

                                        "AGE ENHANCED PHOTO!!!!"

Tuesday, January 6, 2009


Boy, 6, Misses Bus Tries Driving Family Car to School

The Associated Press

1:27 p.m. ET, Tues., Jan. 6, 2009

WICOMICO CHURCH, Va. - Having missed his bus, a 6-year-old Virginia boy tried to drive to school in his family's sedan — and crashed.

State police say the boy suffered only minor injuries and eventually arrived at school after being evaluated at a local hospital. Police did not immediately return a call Tuesday asking who brought him there.

It happened around 7:40 a.m. Monday on Route 360, about 61 miles east of Richmond.

Police say the boy, who wasn't identified, missed the bus, took the keys to his family's 2005 Ford Taurus and started toward school while his mother was asleep.

He ran off the road several times before hitting an embankment and utility pole. Police say he wasn't wearing a safety belt.

The incident remains under investigation.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009


4- Year Old Boy Shoots Babysitter for Stepping On His Foot

The Associated Press
2009-01-05 21:03:47
JACKSON, Ohio (Jan. 5) - Police say a 4-year-old boy in southern Ohio shot his baby sitter because the sitter accidentally stepped on his foot.
Police said 18-year-old Nathan Beavers and several other teenagers were baby-sitting several young children in a mobile home in Jackson on Sunday when the shooting occurred.
Witnesses told police the 4-year-old retrieved the shotgun from a bedroom closet and shot Beavers. Police said the child was angry because Beavers accidentally stepped on his foot.
Beavers was hospitalized with minor pellet wounds to his arm and side.
Police say another teen was also injured with shotgun pellets.
Jackson County Sheriff John Shashteen said authorities are investigating the shooting. The child has not been charged.

Monday, January 5, 2009


Bar Owners Pay $100,000 for Tuna

By MARI YAMAGUCHI, Associated Press Writer Mari Yamaguchi, Associated Press Writer – Mon Jan 5, 8:13 am ET
A Japanese bluefin tuna that fetched nearly 10 million yen at the year-opening AP – A Japanese bluefin tuna that fetched nearly 10 million yen at the year-opening auction is shown at Tokyo's …

TOKYO – Two sushi bar owners paid more than $100,000 for a Japanese bluefin tuna at a Tokyo fish auction Monday, several times the average price and the highest in nearly a decade, market officials said.

The 282-pound (128-kilogram) premium tuna caught off the northern coast of Oma fetched 9.63 million yen ($104,700), the highest since 2001, when another Japanese bluefin tuna brought an all-time record of 20 million yen, market official Takashi Yoshida said.

Yoshida said the extravagant purchase — about $370 per pound ($817 per kilogram) — went to a Hong Kong sushi bar owner and his Japanese competitor who reached a peaceful settlement to share the big fish. The Hong Kong buyer also paid the highest price at last year's new year event at Tokyo's Tsukiji market, the world's largest fish seller, which holds near-daily auctions.

A slightly bigger imported bluefin caught off the eastern United States sold for 1.42 million yen ($15,400) in Monday's auction.

"It was the best tuna of the day, but the price shot up because of the shortage of domestic bluefin," Yoshida said, citing rough weather at the end of December. Buyers vied for only three Oma bluefin tuna Monday, compared to 41 last year.

Typical tuna prices at Tokyo fish markets are less than $25 per pound ($55 per kilogram). But bluefin tuna is considered by gourmets to be the best, and when sliced up into small pieces and served on rice it goes for very high prices in restaurants.

Premium fish — sometimes sliced up while the customers watch — also have advertising value, underscoring a restaurant's quality, like a rare wine.

Due to growing concerns over the impact of commercial fishing on the bluefin variety's survival, members of international tuna conservation organizations, including Japan, have agreed to cut their bluefin catch quota for 2009 by 20 percent to 22,000 tons.


Monday, January 5, 2009


Powerball Jackpot Huge but Sales are Slow

Sunday was the first day Floridians could buy tickets for Powerball, the multistate lottery with bigger jackpots than Florida's own games.


Sunday, 01.04.09


Peter Vasquez strolled out of the Publix supermarket near Northeast 90th Street and Biscayne Boulevard on Sunday, several lottery tickets in hand.

For $8, the 57-year-old bought Mega Money and Fantasy 5 tickets -- and a stake in the newest game to reach the Sunshine State: Powerball.

''I heard so much about it,'' said Vasquez, who said he buys lottery tickets just about every day. ``I figure, let's see what happens.''

Tickets for the multistate lottery known for steep payouts and even steeper odds went on sale in Florida for the first time Sunday. The next drawing -- with an estimated jackpot of $105 million -- will be broadcast from Universal Studios in Orlando at 10:59 p.m. Wednesday.

Powerball mania wasn't rampant Sunday. While some stores, including News Plus on University Drive in Tamarac, were busy, others reported few Powerball buyers.

A man behind the counter at the BP gas station at the corner of U.S. 1 and Northeast Sixth Street in Fort Lauderdale said Sunday he had sold only two Powerball tickets, and one of them was to himself.

Still, Powerball has given anyone with a dollar and a dream a chance -- a very slight chance -- to strike it rich. In each drawing, five white balls are pulled out of a drum of 59, along with one red ball -- the Powerball -- chosen from among 39 balls.

With the Sunshine State included, the starting jackpot will grow to $20 million. Average jackpots are expected to shoot up to $141 million, lottery officials previously said, as opposed to the current average of $96 million.

Florida is the 30th state to join the mix, along with the U.S. Virgin Islands and the District of Columbia. State leaders decided last year to join in the hope of bringing in more money after profits from the Florida Lottery began to drop.

But adding Florida also makes the chances of winning the jackpot lower. Before, they were one in 146 million. Now, they will be one in more than 195 million.

Long odds don't scare Vasquez.

''I'm hoping to get a big one,'' said Vasquez, an antiques dealer who intends to keep on buying Florida Lottery tickets, too.


He has company. Powerball business was brisk at News Plus, 5781 N. University Dr., Tamarac, which sold the $6 million Florida Lotto winner in the Dec. 31 drawing.

Interest in the Florida Lotto game was down, which is typical after a recent win brings the jackpot down to $3 million, said Vince Maiorino, who runs the store with his wife, Grace.


About two-thirds of their ticket sales Sunday were for Powerball, with the other third for the various Florida Lottery games, he said. Grace Maiorino estimated that, as of 8:45 p.m. Sunday, the store had sold about $2,600 worth of Powerball tickets.

''People that normally come in to buy Lotto are buying Lotto and Powerball,'' Maiorino said. ``And we see people coming in just to buy Powerball.''

Back at the Publix on Biscayne Boulevard, retiree Claude LaRoche stopped to ask a cashier about the new game.

''I play Lotto every week, and I'm going to play Powerball,'' said LaRoche, of Miami Shores.

``It's $105 million, so I'll take my chances.''


He said he would come back Monday to buy his tickets.

LaRoche said he spends about $15 a week on Florida Lotto, and said he plans to buy between $5 and $10 worth of Powerball tickets as well.

''It's very difficult,'' LaRoche said, ``but someone's gotta win.''


Sunday, January 4, 2009


Four Confess In Detail To Murder They Didn't Commit

Chuck Shepherd – Sun Jan 4, 12:00 am ET

LEAD STORY: How can four people (or in another case, six) confess in detail to a murder even though they had nothing to do with it?

Aggressive police questioning of a weak-willed suspect can produce an occasional false confession, but experts now believe that six men in a single case, and four in another, confessed to group crimes they did not commit, even though some described their roles in vivid detail.

Recent DNA evidence in a 1989 Beatrice, Neb., murder case implicated only a seventh man, and similar evidence in a 1997 Norfolk, Va., murder case implicated only a fifth man, who insists he acted alone. (Governors in both states are currently mulling pardons for the men.)

 It is still possible that the six, or the four, are guilty as charged and that the DNA was left in completely separate attacks on the victims, but the more likely explanation, say psychologists, is that people with low self-esteem or mental problems, or who are drug- or alcohol-addled, are more easily convinced of fantasy.

[Omaha World-Herald, 11-28- 08; Washington Post, 12-15-08]

Sunday, January 4, 2009


IRS Threatening Legal Action Against Detroit Lawyer over 5-cent IRS Bill

The Associated Press

Sat, Jan. 03, 2009 08:07 AM

James Howarth is a little confused by two letters he has received from the Internal Revenue Service.

The Detroit defense lawyer received one letter in November that said he owed the IRS money - five cents.

He was warned that he should pay "to avoid additional penalty and/or interest," the Detroit Free Press reported Saturday.

Howarth says he then received a second letter telling him the government owes him money - four cents.

He was told he would have to request the refund since it's less than $1.

"When I owe them a nickel, I must pay them. It's not optional," he said. "But when they owe me, I have to ask for it."

Howarth says he's not sure if there is a connection between the two notices, or if the refund represents a recalculation of the original bill.

The perplexed lawyer says he called an IRS 800 telephone number but gave up after spending a long time on hold.

IRS spokesman Luis D. Garcia says the agency doesn't comment on individual accounts.

Information from: Detroit Free Press,

Saturday, January 3, 2009


Man Spends $11 to Steal $9

Kansas City Star

Fri, Jan. 02, 2009 10:15 PM

Muoi Van Nguyen, 31, was arrested in Spokane Valley, Wash., in November, charged with breaking a window with a hammer at a state liquor store and grabbing a bottle of wine valued at $9.

Earlier, Van Nguyen had tried unsuccessfully to break the window with a rock but decided he needed a hammer to do the job and went to a nearby store, where he purchased one for $11.

Saturday, January 3, 2009


More Illinois Senate Seats For Sale


GateHouse News Service

January 2, 2009 7:15 EST


PEORIA – Gov. Rod Bla­go­jevich might deny selling the state’s U. S. Senate seat, but “Al the Jeweler” is hopeful the public will want to buy plenty from him.

Brad Pettet, owner of Pettet Jewelry Designs in Peoria, is selling three-quarter-inch tall charms for necklaces and bracelets shaped as a U.S. Senate seat.

“The whole point of this is to have a little bit of fun,” Pettet said Tuesday. “People say they are embarrassed to be from Illinois. I’m not embarrassed. It’s Chicago politics. You ought to be used to it by now.”

Pettet is selling the charms in three forms: sterling silver for $35 each, 14-karat gold for $175, and in platinum, which will go at market prices.

Proceeds from the sales are being referred to as “donations,” which will go toward the Al the Jeweler’s retirement fund, Pettet said.

Pettet, who turns 60 in February, said he came up with idea of the unique charms after he saw an advertisement before Christmas simply stating, “We Sell Everything but Senate Seats.”

This got Pettet thinking, and on Christmas Day, he came up with the idea of selling a Senate seat charm.

On Friday, Pettet returned to work and started on his idea. A jewelry craftsman for 25 years, Pettet designed the chair, but the first rendition didn’t look so much like a Senate seat as it did a bar stool.

After some refinement, a more visually accurate Senate seat was created out of wax. He has several of the wax creations at the jewelry store; they are no bigger than a “Monopoly” game piece.

With the prototype design completed, Pettet said he was ready to mass produce the charms. He was unsure how many he would sell in the coming days, but he has the capability to make five to 10 charms from each mold.

“One caller said, ‘Will you limit it to 100 pieces?’” said Pettet, describing the callers’ reference to the U.S. Senate’s 100 seats. “I said, ‘No, this is Illinois politics. We can oversell.’”

On Friday, employee Charity Schierer took three orders for the charms to be done in silver. One call came from Canada. Another was from a radio station in St. Louis wanting more information.

And what if U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald finds out Pettet is selling Senate seats?

“I could be in big trouble,” he joked, adding that some of the proceeds could go to a local charity. “But I will be collecting sales tax on each one of these.”

Friday, January 2, 2009


Florida Expressway Tied Up into a "ShoeWay"

 Thousands of shoes were littered Friday on the southbound lanes of the Palmetto Expressway near Miller Drive.
Thousands of shoes were littered Friday on the southbound lanes of the Palmetto Expressway near Miller Drive.
Fri, Jan. 02, 2009
Miami Herald 

Work boots, slippers, sneakers and sandals -- thousands of them -- were littered Friday morning across both lanes of the Palmetto Expressway near Miller Drive.

The thousands of shoes caused long traffic delays and a two-hour clean-up, state officials said.

According to Florida Highway Patrol spokesman Lt. Pat Santangelo, thousands of pairs of used shoes mysteriously appeared at 7:42 a.m. on the southbound lanes of the Palmetto Expressway between the Bird Road and Miller Drive exits.

Employees of the Florida Department of Transportation's Road Rangers service, which is meant to provide roadside assistance, managed to use large brooms and push all the shoes into one lane.

A private contractor was hired to use a front-end loader to pick up the shoes by the dozen and load them into a large dump truck, Santangelo said.

''At this point, no one's claimed the shoes,'' Santangelo said.

Santangelo spent Friday morning driving through Little Haiti, searching for a charitable organization that would want to donate the used shoes to impoverished Haitian residents who are still suffering from the aftermath of the 2008 hurricane season.

If the shoes are claimed, Santangelo explained, the person responsible for the thousand-shoe mess will be charged for the clean up.

Santangelo said he could not estimate the cost.

''It's not cheap,'' he said.

By 9 a.m., traffic on the highway was backed up about a mile. Road Rangers were almost done cleaning out the last lane by 9:30 a.m.

Should the shoes remain unclaimed, charities may be given the shoes to send to Haiti. Any charity interested in transporting or distributing the shoes to Haitian residents may call the Florida Highway Patrol at 305-470-2500 before 12 p.m.

Friday, January 2, 2009


Burglar Scared Off by the "God of Thunder!"

EDINBURGH, Scotland, Jan. 1 (UPI) -- A man who dressed as the Norse god Thor for a costume party in Scotland said he returned home and scared off a burglar who had entered his house.

Torvald Alexander, 38, a construction firm manager who stands at 6 feet tall, said he ran after the burglar with his red cape and silver-winged helmet still in place, making for an intimidating sight, The Daily Telegraph reported Thursday.

"As soon as he saw me his eyes went wide with terror," Alexander said of the burglar. "He looked like he had had a few drinks and decided to do a late night break in, but he hadn't counted on the God of Thunder living here."

"I had just got back from a fancy dress New Year's party and because I have a Norwegian name I decided to go as Thor," he said.

Alexander said the burglar did not have time to steal anything from the house and fled from a ground floor window without his shoes. He said the shoes will be turned over to police to help them attempt to identify a suspect.

Thursday, January 1, 2009


Owner Leaves Store Open, Tells Customers To Pay for What They Take

SETTLE, England, Jan. 1 (UPI) -- An English shopkeeper who wanted the day after Christmas off kept his store open with a sign telling customers to take what they needed and leave the money.


Tom Algie, who owns Practically Everything, a store catering to do-it-yourselfers in the village of Settle in Yorkshire, told The Daily Mail that he used a funnel and cereal box to create a container for payments. The next day, he found 187 pounds ($270) in the box.

The day after Christmas, known as Boxing Day, is a major holiday in England. Algie said that he wanted to spend the day with his family and to give his employees the day off as well.

"Settle is a lovely quiet rural town and there's never any trouble here. I put my faith in my customers and I wasn't disappointed," he said. "It was a spur of the moment decision, I just wanted to spend the holidays with my family but thought it would be quite nice to open up the shop, so this seemed like a good solution."

 United Press International, Inc.

Thursday, January 1, 2009


Man, 19, Accused of Breaking Into His Own Home

The Associated Press       Wed, Dec. 31, 2008
HUTCHINSON, Minn. -- A 19-year-old Hutchinson man was arrested after allegedly breaking into his own home and stealing a car, jewelry, some money, and other items. Police said he allegedly lured his other family members away Friday afternoon by making a dinner reservation for them in Chanhassen. Then, while they were away, he broke into the garage and house, grabbed the booty, and took off in the car.

Police sid their investigation revealed a connection to Duluth, so they notified St. Louis County authorities, and he was arrested later that night by police in Duluth.

He's was in the McLeod County jail, awaiting possible burglary and auto theft charges.



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