A police sergeant was in the process of arresting Xavier Ross, 19, for creating a disturbance by repeatedly playing “Chopsticks” on a piano in front of police headquarters in Grand Rapids, Mich., when another officer recognized Ross as a suspect wanted for felony burglary. (Grand Rapids’s WZZM-TV) FBI investigators charged Ryan Homsley, 19, with robbing a bank in Tualatin, Ore., after he claimed responsibility on his Facebook page. “im now a bank robber,” he posted after changing his Facebook profile picture to the surveillance photo taken of the bandit at the bank. (Associated Press)
Don’t Tread on Me
Tajikistan’s President Emomali Rakhmon announced plans to build the world’s tallest flagpole. Scheduled for completion in March, the 541-foot pole will be located in Dushanbe, the capital. The current tallest flagpole, 531 feet, is in Azerbaijan. (Associated Press)
Followers of two rival Muslim leaders who were observing one of Islam’s most important holidays by sharing a mosque in Pakistan’s Baluchistan province began arguing over which faction should lead the prayers. They pulled out weapons and started shooting, Khuzdar district police official Javed Ahmed reported, wounding 18 people. (Associated Press)
John D. Gilliand appeared in court in Alachua County, Fla., asking for restraining orders against former University of Florida quarterback Tim Tebow, President Barack Obama and Jesus Christ. He explained that he feels threatened by them and made reference to their being part of gangs or making gang symbols at him. When the court denied his petitions, Gilliand promptly filed a supplemental affidavit asking the court to reconsider a restraining order against Tebow and Obama but not Jesus. (Orlando Sentinel)
Chadwick St.-OHarra, 59, and Steve Righetti, 59, filed a lawsuit in small claims court against a restaurant in Marin County, Calif., accusing it of ruining Righetti’s birthday dinner by serving “exploding” escargots. The plaintiffs allege that when they pierced the snails with cocktail forks, hot garlic butter sprayed on their faces and polo shirts. “I was humiliated,” Righetti declared, conceding that the friends finished their surf-and-turf dinner before deciding to file a claim against the Seafood Peddler.
St.-OHarra said he and Righetti wouldn’t have sued if restaurant employees had shown sufficient remorse. “It was the indifference,” St.-OHarra said. “It was the friggin’ rudeness.” (Marin Independent Journal) Cleveland’s Tim and Mary Katherine Gann sued their local Steak ’n Shake, claiming that when their son ordered chili, a restaurant employee asked him if he’d like hot sauce, then served him “Blair’s Mega Death Sauce,” which is reputed to be 500 times hotter than a jalapeno. After eating some with his chili, the boy broke out in hives, had difficulty breathing and suffered severe pain and inflammation of his digestive system, including his mouth and throat that required hospitalization. (Cleveland Daily Banner)
Two Florida restaurants are suing each other, each claiming only it uses water with an authentic New York City taste. The Original Brooklyn Water Bagel Co. in Delray Beach accused Mamma Mia’s Trattoria & Brick Oven Pizzeria in Lake Worth of stealing the water-filtration process it developed to “Brooklynize” water for its bagels and pizza. Mamma Mia’s insisted that the bagel place is illegally claiming to have patented the filtering process. (United Press International)
When Franklin, N.J., became the 25th city to host the national Fugitive Safe Surrender program, where people wanted for nonviolent crimes, such as traffic violations and minor drug charges, give themselves up in exchange for receiving favorable treatment, 550 of the 3,901 people who turned themselves in weren’t wanted for anything. “For some people, this seemed to be a way to check: Do I have a warrant or not?” state parole board official Neal Buccino said. “Or maybe some people didn’t know they had a case dismissed.” (Newark’s The Star-Ledger) After the security director of a hospital in Wayne, N.J., finished discussing a routine code change with pharmacy manager Leonardo Zoppa, 34, Zoppa reportedly asked, “Do you know anything else about me?” When asked for specifics, Zoppa admitted placing a hidden camera in the ceiling of a men’s bathroom. Maintenance workers had found the camera and turned it over to security director Baggo Mileski, who hadn’t viewed it before Zoppa’s appointment. Now, he believes Zoppa went to check on the camera when Mileski asked to see him and panicked when he couldn’t find it. (Newark’s The Star-Ledger)
News and Blues is compiled from the nation’s press. To contribute, submit original clippings, citing date and source, to Roland Sweet in care of The New Times.