A co-ed dormitory at Hunter College in New York City has become the site of a dispute between the college and 32-year-old Lisa S. Palmer, who won't vacate her dorm room despite having discontinued her classes in 2016. Palmer, who works for an architecture firm, has "racked up a staggering $94,000 in unpaid residence hall charges," a lawsuit filed in Manhattan Supreme Court noted. The New York Post reported on Feb. 28 that in June 2016 and fall 2017, she received eviction notices, but she won't budge. Palmer admitted that dorm life is "really lonely. I feel very isolated." Palmer was moved into a wing of the dorm that's occupied only by a middle-aged nurse, whom the college is also trying to evict. In fact, Hunter is working on removing nine nurses, who were given rooms in the building when it was owned by Bellevue Hospital. [New York Post, 2/28/2018]
Only in Texas
Ana Lisa Garza, a Starr County district judge in south Texas, is running for a state House seat in District 31. Garza has received almost $90,000 in contributions to her campaign, but more than $50,000 of that has been in a most unusual currency: deer semen. Deer breeder Fred Gonzalez, treasurer of the Texas Deer Association, said breeders often donate semen "straws" instead of money: "Semen is a very common way for us to donate. One collection on a buck could lead to 60 straws sometimes. If you have a desirable animal, it's a way to bring value without breaking the bank." A campaign finance report valued each straw donated at $1,000. Gonzalez told the Dallas Morning News that the semen donated for Garza's campaign went into a tank sold in one lot, the proceeds of which will go to the campaign. [Dallas Morning News, 3/2/2018]
-- Kenny Bachman, 21, had a rude awakening when he racked up a $1,636 Uber fare on Feb. 23 following a night of partying with high school friends in Morgantown, West Virginia. The Charlotte Observer reported that Bachman and the friend he planned on staying with stopped at a convenience store during the evening. The friend told Bachman to wait outside as he went into the store, but Bachman was gone when the friend emerged. He had summoned an Uber to take him home -- to Gloucester County, New Jersey. Bachman was passed out for most of the nearly 300-mile trip, which was subject to surge pricing, doubling the fare. Bachman challenged the charge but ended up paying the full fare; "I feel like there's very little I could have done to reverse it," he said. [Charlotte Observer, 2/28/2016]
-- Miami resident Luce Rameau didn't know what hit her on Feb. 28 as she lay in bed, talking on the phone. She thought a bomb had gone off as wood and debris fell on her bed. "I kept screaming, 'What happened? What happened?'" Rameau told the Miami Herald. It wasn't a bomb; an 80-pound inflatable raft had crashed through her roof after becoming untethered from a Royal Canadian Air Force search-and-rescue helicopter that had been conducting an offshore training exercise nearby. David Lavallee, a spokesman for the RCAF, said the accident is being investigated and the air force intends to help "the resident with accommodations and other support." Rameau suffered only minor injuries. [Miami Herald, 2/28/2018]
Least Competent Criminals
-- Caught red-handed: Leahman G.R. Potter, 48, neglected to conceal the evidence after he stole a pot of meatballs from a neighbor's garage in Hazle Township in Pennsylvania. The meatball owner returned home Feb. 26 to find Potter outside his garage, covered in red sauce, and his meatball pot missing, according to United Press International. When Pennsylvania State Police arrived shortly afterward, they found the pot in the street and Potter at his home, where he was charged with burglary, trespass and theft. [United Press International, 2/28/2018]
-- KTAR News in Phoenix reported that Peoria Police Department officers were called to a gas station Feb. 23 in response to a shoplifting. When they arrived, suspects Marwan Al Ebadi, 28, and Salma Hourieh, 29, set off on foot before hopping over a fence -- directly into a secured parking lot of the Peoria Police Department. Hourieh tried to hide beneath a bench outside the station, while Al Ebadi jumped back over the fence and was stopped in the street. Both were arrested and charged with shoplifting. "You should never run from the police," said police spokesman Brandon Sheffert, "and if you do, do not run into a secure parking lot of a police station." [KTAR, 2/28/2018]
Name recognition won't be a problem for the Libertarian Party challenger for eastern Arkansas' 1st Congressional District seat: Elvis D. Presley. The Associated Press reported that the King impersonator from Star City, Arkansas, who legally changed his name to match the rock 'n' roll icon's (although the "real" Elvis' middle initial was A), filed campaign paperwork on Feb. 26. Presley works as an auto refinish technician at Camp's Custom Paint in Star City, but his political ambitions aren't new: He's also run for governor, land commissioner and state legislature. [AP via KFSM-TV, 2/26/2018]
If It Ain't Broke ...
Republican State Sen. John Ruckelshaus of Indianapolis is the proud sponsor of a new measure in Indiana that bans eyeball tattooing. According to the proposed law, passed by both the Senate and the House, tattooists would be prohibited from coloring the whites of a customer's eyes, with a fine of up to $10,000 per violation. The Associated Press reported that Sen. Ruckelshaus admitted he's not aware of any problems with eyeball-tattooing in Indiana. The legislation was on Gov. Eric Holcomb's desk for his signature on March 1. [The Associated Press, 3/1/2018]
Unclear on the Concept
Even before it opened last year, Apple's spaceship building in Cupertino, California, presented a transparency problem: Its glass walls couldn't be distinguished from its glass doors, and since moving in on Jan. 2, several workers have been injured after walking into them. The San Francisco Chronicle reported three people suffered head injuries severe enough to summon emergency responders. Apple's vice president of real estate and development, Dan Whisenhunt, told the local Rotary Club in January there hadn't been any problems with birds flying into the glass. "Now the humans on the inside, that's a different story," he said. "That's a problem we are working on right now." Architects have added black rectangular stickers to the glass panes, which seem to be helping. [San Francisco Chronicle, 3/2/2018]
Houston detectives were finally able to close a case in January that had been vexing them for 30 months. Mary Stewart Cerruti, 61, the last holdout in a neighborhood being bought up for redevelopment, was reported missing in August 2015 by a friend, who described her as shy and frail, the Houston Chronicle detailed. However, police had no leads, and her home was foreclosed on after payments stopped. Eventually, the home was cleaned out and sold, and new renters moved in. On March 4, 2017, a 911 call reported a human skeleton "between two of the walls" in the home. When police arrived, they found a hole in the attic floorboards and down below were the bones, clothing and shoes that had been discovered' an investigation found no evidence of foul play. On Jan. 23, the Harris County Institute of Forensic Sciences confirmed the remains were those of Cerruti. [Houston Chronicle, 1/237/2018]
Linda Fein and her husband thought they had found their dream home in Paradise Valley, near Phoenix. They offered $1.8 million for the house and 1.3-acre lot, but then found out the house belonged to Kevin and Sandra Otterson and was the setting for their pornography website, Wifey's World, founded in 1998. "I just can't make Thanksgiving dinner on counters where a porn star has been lounging around," Fein told the Arizona Republic. In late February, the couple rescinded their offer on the four-bedroom home. "I certainly believe there are people out there who wouldn't care about the house being used for those purposes," Fein explained. "I'm just not one of them." [Arizona Republic, 3/1/2018]
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