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News » News Quirks

Drinking-Class Heroes


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Curses, Foiled Again
Fugitive Jacob Moore, 25, tried to divert police attention from his home, where officers were preparing to execute a warrant, by calling in a bomb threat to an elementary school in Hayden, Idaho. Moore forgot to turn off his caller ID, however, allowing authorities to trace the call to his phone and confirm that he was at home. They arrested him and added making a false bomb threat to the original felony charge against him. (Spokane-Coeur d'Alene's KXLY-TV)

• Sheriff's deputies who placed burglary suspects Daniel Gargiulo, 39, and Michael Rochefort, 38, in the back seat of a patrol car in West Boynton, Fla., confirmed their guilt when a camera pointed at the suspects in plain view recorded their conversation about the stolen goods and concocting an alibi. (South Florida Sun Sentinel)

Slightest Provocation
Cornelius Jefferson, 33, moved from Georgia to Kentucky to be with a woman he met online but wound up assaulting her, the Laurel County Sheriff's Office reported, because he "didn't think she was like she was on the Internet." Deputy Gilbert Acciardo Jr. didn't say how the woman failed to match her online persona, only that Jefferson choked her, threw food on her and then left with his suitcases. (Lexington Herald-Leader)

Clarifications of the Week
After Gail McGovern, CEO of the American Red Cross, repeatedly declared that 91 cents of every $1 donated goes toward disaster-relief efforts, the organization abruptly removed the claim from its website. "The language used has not been as clear as it could have been," the Red Cross announced, "and we are clarifying the language." The subsequent official clarification was that 91 cents of every $1 the Red Cross spends goes for disaster relief. (NPR)

• A witness in the London trial of African preacher Gilbert Deya testified for more than an hour before anyone realized the Sierra Leone native wasn't speaking English. During the 38-year-old woman's testimony, lawyers blamed the courtroom's poor acoustics for their inability to understand her, and repeatedly told her to speak more slowly and stand back from the microphone. Finally, court clerk Christiana Kyemenu-Caiquo, also from Sierra Leone, informed Judge Nicholas Madge that the witness was speaking a native Creole dialect. Kyemenu-Caiquo was sworn in to translate the testimony, which consisted of "I can't remember" to every question. (London Evening Standard)

New and Improved
New York officials selected a consortium of advertising, technology and telecom companies to install thousands of pay phones throughout the city. The new versions will offer 24-hour free Wi-Fi connections; touchscreen displays with direct access to city services, maps and directions; and charging stations for cellphones and other mobile devices. Sophisticated digital advertising is expected to fund the system, to the tune of $500 million over the next 12 years, providers said. The city expects additional revenue to come from auctioning off some of the 6,500 old-style pay phones that the 10,000 new machines will replace. (The Washington Post)

Drinking-Class Heroes
Police arrested Richard Curzon, 57, in Omaha, Neb., after observing him straddling the centerline while driving with four flat tires and a deployed airbag. An officer tried to stop Curzon, but he refused to pull over and led the officer on a brief, low-speed chase. Blood-alcohol level: .253. (Omaha World-Herald)

• Vermont State Police said Dwayne Fenlason, 48, was drunk when he drove his pickup off the road in Pomfret and when he went home and got a second truck to pull out the first truck but drove the second truck off the road. He went home again and got his all-terrain vehicle to pull out both trucks but this time was arrested for drunk driving. Blood-alcohol level: .30 (Burlington's WCAX-TV)

• Authorities arrested a 39-year-old woman for drunken driving in Paw Paw ("located in the heart of Michigan's wine country," the village website proclaims) after she pulled into the parking lot of the Van Buren County Jail and told the sheriff's deputy who confronted her that she believed it was a bar. Blood-alcohol level: .17 (Kalamazoo Gazette)

• Responding to a complaint that a man was shooting a gun at a can in the street in Blair Township, Mich., while he was "wearing camo pants and a clown mask and at one point was playing a trombone," sheriff's deputies found the 54-year-old man aiming at surrounding houses, determined he was drunk and arrested him. (Michigan's MLive.com)

The Heat Is On
The nation's second-biggest tobacco company introduced a cigarette that uses a carbon tip to heat tobacco rather than burn it. Unlike e-cigarettes, which use liquid nicotine, Revo contains real tobacco, which Reynolds American hopes will make it more attractive to cigarette smokers. Heat-not-burn technology "needed the mass presence of vapor products to open up an experience-base that smokers understood," said J. Brice O'Brien, Reynolds's head of consumer marketing. He added the company will inform smokers that Revo is different and harder to use than traditional cigarettes but encourage them to "stick with it, because it's totally worth it." (Associated Press)

Woe Is We
Vines are proliferating, thanks to rising levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere that allow them to hog more light and water than the slower-growing trees they twine around, according to Australian biologist William Laurance. Noting that up to half of all plant species in a typical rainforest are vines, he warned that vines are advancing not only in rainforests fragmented by agriculture and logging, but even in undisturbed forests. (Sierra)

When Windshield Wipers Aren't Enough
Authorities said Marcos Ortega, 33, struck a 66-year-old pedestrian in Ocean County, N.J., and then drove about a mile with the victim stuck in his windshield until an officer pulled him over. (Philadelphia's WPVI-TV)

Justice Just Isn't
After a British coroner ruled that Dr. Daniel Ubani unlawfully killed David Gray by giving him an overdose of diamorphine, the victim's sons, Rory and Stuart Gray, confronted Ubani at a medical conference in Germany. They called him a "charlatan," a "killer" and "an animal." He sued the sons, who were told by a German court that they could describe him as a charlatan and a killer, but not an animal. Ubani subsequently sued Rory Gray for calling him "an animal." This time, the Amtsgericht civil court in Lindau ordered Gray to pay 75 percent of the case's legal costs ("in the thousands" of euros, Gray estimated) and asked him to write to the doctor. Gray called the ruling "utterly grotesque." (BBC News)

Compiled from the press reports by Roland Sweet. Authentication on demand.