Curses, Foiled Again
Authorities who arrived at a Chicago apartment to arrest Ronald “Boobie” McIntyre, 35, for unpaid child support said he tried to evade them by jumping from a third-story window onto what appeared to be grass but turned out to be artificial turf covering concrete. Even though McIntyre broke both legs, Cook County sheriff’s deputies said he continued his escape by crawling until they arrested him. (Chicago Sun-Times) When Nathan Wayne Pugh, 49, showed a Dallas bank teller a note demanding money and warning that he had a “bom,” the teller told Pugh she needed to see some identification before giving him any money. He presented his bank debit card. When she asked how much he wanted, he answered “two thousand,” so she asked for further identification. Pugh handed her his Texas ID card. She pressed the alarm button while informing him she had only $900 in her cash drawer and would get the rest from the vault. He said he’d settle for the $900, which he took, along with his debit card and ID. As he turned to flee, Pugh noticed uniformed police officers at the bank entrance, so he grabbed a woman holding a baby, apparently to use as a hostage, according to FBI agent Mark White, who reported the woman wrestled Pugh to the ground. Officers rushed over and arrested him. (The Dallas Morning News)
Onward, Christian Soldiers
The First Baptist Church of Dallas launched a holiday-season web site for people to tattle on businesses that aren’t celebrating Christmas with appropriate store displays, advertising and greetings to customers, such as using “Happy Holidays” instead of “Merry Christmas.” “Too many businesses have bowed down to political correctness,” insisted the church’s pastor, the Rev. Robert Jeffress, who previously made national news by preaching a sermon titled “Why Gay Is Not OK” and branding Islam as an evil religion. “We meant this as a fun campaign.” (The Dallas Morning News)
After rescuers saved a 14-month-old girl from drowning in Marshall, Texas, the community decided to hold a fair to raise money to help her family pay the massive medical bills involved in her recovery. One of the featured events was a dunking booth. (Longview’s KLTV)
More and more local governments are dealing with declining revenues by turning to “accident response fees,” also called “crash taxes,” which charge accident victims for municipal services that taxes already cover. Victims who receive aid from police, fire, ambulance or hazmat services responding to emergency calls, shortly after receive a bill. Usually, bills go to non-residents, but increasingly even tax-paying residents are being billed. More than 40 towns and cities just in California are considering adopting crash-tax measures, according to the Property Casualty Insurers Association of America, and Mary Bonelli of the Ohio Insurance Institute said 33 other states have begun adopting or studying accident-response fees.
Charges start as low as a flat $500, but in Florida, if a fire chief shows up at your accident, you’ll pay an extra $200 an hour. If you need a Jaws of Life rescue in Sacramento, Calif., add $1,875, and in Chico, Calif., a complex rescue can cost as much as $2,000 an hour. A Pennsylvania man recently complained after his bill for a motorcycle accident included additional charges for “mops and brooms” to clean up the scene. (Fox News) When a fire started that threatened his house in Obion County, Tenn., Gene Cranick called the nearest firefighters, located in the city of South Fulton.
The city charges county residents $75 to provide services to them. The emergency operator informed Cranick that he hadn’t paid the fee and so wasn’t entitled to fire protection. Cranick promised he would pay the firefighters as soon as the fire trucks arrived, whatever it cost, to stop the fire before it spread to his house. No dice. The fire burned for hours as Cranick fought to control it with garden hoses. Only when the fire spread to a neighbor’s field did firefighters arrive. The neighbor had paid the fee. Cranick asked the fire chief to make an exception to save his house, but the chief refused. Even an appeal to the mayor of South Fulton fell on deaf ears. Cranick’s house ultimately burned to the ground. “”I thought they’d come out and put it out, even if you hadn’t paid your $75,” Cranick said, “but I was wrong.” (Paducah, Ky.’s WPSD-TV)
Why They Call It Dope
Sheriff’s deputies arrested four people at a home in Carson City, Nev., after they found fliers in the neighborhood advertising marijuana for sale at that address and announcing, “Looking for new clients, always a good supply.” When deputies went to the address, they saw a camera in a window pointed at the street and a note advising visitors, “If you the street and a note advising visitors, “If you don’t call first we won’t answer the door.” The deputies knocked anyway, and a man and woman opened the door. (Nevada Appeal)
Dangers of Night and Day
Using artificial lighting at night increases the risk of insect-borne disease for humans, according to Brazilian researchers, who observed that light pollution alters human and insect interactions. The scientists concluded that nighttime lighting lets people stay outside longer, increasing their exposure to insects attracted to artificial lights, possibly because the lights signal the presence of humans. Even when disease-carrying insects don’t bite people directly, they may bite pets and animals that co-exist with humans and can pass along disease-causing parasites (Environmental Health Perspectives) Solar rays bouncing off the gleaming glass of a Las Vegas high-rise hotel pose a risk of severe burns to people lounging at the pool. Local media, as well as some staff and guests at MGM Resorts International’s Vdara hotel and condominium, which opened last December, refer to the reflection off the concave-shaped building as the “death ray,” although MGM Resorts officials prefer the term “solar convergence phenomenon.” The firm installed high-tech solar film over each of the 3,000 glass panes covering the Vdara’s south façade, hoping to scatter the rays, but the concentrated sunlight remains hot enough at times to melt plastic and singe hair — and penetrate shade. “My back and the back of my legs started burning, and I ran under a nearby umbrella,” said William Pintas, 49, a Vdara condo owner who first encountered the death ray after a dip in the pool. “And I’m under the umbrella, and there is no shading from the light or heat.” Pintas, who happens to be a lawyer, said he could even smell his hair starting to burn.
Not everyone is unhappy about the situation, MGM Resorts official Gordon Absher reported. On cooler days, he has seen sunbathers deliberately lay their blankets on the convergence spot for additional warmth. (Reuters)
Food in the News
A load of mayonnaise that fell off the back of a truck in Japan’s Hyogo prefecture caused an eight-vehicle pile-up that injured three people. “What probably happened is that cars traveling behind the truck squashed the bottles of mayonnaise, spreading it on the road,” police official Masaaki Miyazaki said, adding that the dressing’s eggs, vinegar and oil make it “more slick and dangerous than snow.” (Agence France-Presse) Heavy rains have ruined South Korea’s cabbage crop, causing a kimchi shortage that has driven up the price of the national dish and created a blackmarket cabbage trade. The city government of Seoul responded to the crisis with a kimchi bailout program, absorbing 30 percent of the cost of about 300,000 heads of cabbage that it bought from farmers. South Korea’s government announced a temporary reduction in tariffs on cabbage and radishes imported from China, although consumers fear a recurrence of a 2005 crisis, where Chinese-made kimchi products were contaminated by parasite eggs. (Los Angeles Times)
News and Blues is compiled from the nation’s press. To contribute, submit original clippings, citing date and source, to Roland