Willie Windsor, 54, of Phoenix has for several years lived as a full-time baby, wearing frilly dresses, diapers and bonnets, sucking on a pacifier, eating Gerber cuisine, and habitually clutching a rag doll, in a home filled with oversized baby furniture. According to a long Phoenix New Times profile in June, the diaper is not just a prop. Windsor said he worked hard to become incontinent, even chaining the commode shut to avoid temptation, and the reporter admitted feeling "disconcert(ed)" that Windsor might be relieving himself at the very moment he was describing his un-toilet training. Apparently, Windsor's brother, ex-wife, girlfriend and a neighbor tolerate his lifestyle (though no girlfriend has yet been willing to change his diapers). Windsor is a semi-retired singer-actor and said he's been celibate for nine years.
-- After a passer-by found two kids (ages 12 and 6) dragging suitcases along a rural road near Marshfield, Mo., in June, prosecutors charged their mother, Roxanna Osborne, and her boyfriend, Timmy Young, with child abandonment. The kids said their mother had awakened them, given them $5 each, and told them to pack up and leave. The kids told police that the two adults are drug-users.
-- In June, prosecutors in Porter County, Ind., were deciding whether to file charges against the parents of a 17-year-old boy after, according to police, they had beat him up because he had refused to let his sister and her friends borrow his underwear when their own clothes got wet while they were swimming. After initially rebuffing his sister, the boy had moved all his undergarments to his grandparents' house for safekeeping, but a confrontation with his parents ensued.
-- Brian F. Monfort, 27, was arrested in Springfield, Ohio, in April and charged with child enticement based on an arrest report noting that twice, in January and March, he had approached children and paid them money (up to $40) to insult him for being fat, supposedly as a tactic to inspire himself to lose weight.
-- In 1999, Orange County (Calif.) Sheriff Michael Carona and his former chief assistant Donald Haidl deputized 86 untrained civilians, at least half of whom were their friends or family or political contributors, giving them badges and in some cases gun permits and limited arrest powers, according to a May 2005 Los Angeles Times report. Some of the 86 volunteers are still "on duty," and the sheriff did not begin to dismiss some "deputies" until a state law enforcement organization continued to complain that the deputies were not qualified for police work under state law.
-- While virtually every town along the nearly 20 miles of the Long Beach Island, N.J., seashore has signs warning beachgoers of the dangers of rip tides (according to a June Asbury Park Press story), Long Beach Township does not. Even though experts say that most summer visitors are ignorant of the powerful currents and how to cope with them, Township Attorney Richard Shackleton said posting such helpful warnings may hurt local taxpayers. Shackleton explained that a town generally has no legal duty to warn swimmers of natural conditions, but that once a town attempts to warn, judges and juries will too often find the warnings inadequate and permit a swimmer (or his survivors) huge damages.
-- Newsweek named Hillsborough High of Tampa, Fla., the 10th "best" high school in America in May, but as the St. Petersburg Times pointed out the next day, the school got a "D" grade from the state in the most recent evaluation (based mostly on its failure to improve the progress of struggling students), as well as a substandard federal evaluation (based on such criteria as whether low-income and minority students improve). Newsweek's sole criterion for "best" is what percentage of students volunteers to take Advanced Placement exams.
Justin Breakspear, 18, was arrested in Framingham, Mass., in May and charged with illegal possession of three firearms, one of which was a .380-caliber pistol; police said it was unlikely Breakspear would claim the pistol is not his, in that on his hip is a tattoo of an exact replica of the gun. And in Glens Falls, N.Y., in May, Jason McClaskey, 25, on house arrest, was admitted to a hospital in Valhalla, N.Y., with burns over 60 percent of his body; police said McClaskey might have tried to burn the monitoring device off of his leg (though McClaskey said he was merely lighting his grill, even though it was 6 a.m., and there was no charcoal on the grill).
In May, retired obstetrician Parviz "Peter" Modaber, 73, was ordered by a judge to stay out of Clarke County, Va., following his fourth conviction for taking bags of garbage from his home near Charles Town, W.Va., and dumping them along a highway in Clarke County, though court records described by The Washington Post indicated that Modaber had done it many more than four times. Modaber's attorney said the doctor held an intense grudge against the state for having suspended his license during the 1980s and that bucolic Clarke County just happened to be near his home. Modaber had been sentenced three times to a total of 540 hours of picking up litter, but a vigilant citizen caught him dumping again less than six months after the third conviction.
Goat-hoarding continues as an occasional obsession, with a woman in Saarburg, Germany, evicted in June for sharing her home with 43 goats, and a man in Aiken, S.C., charged with animal cruelty in May for cohabiting for seven years with 200 goats in a house whose walls were gnawed away and which contained 3-foot-high hay stacks saturated with manure and urine. And in June, Kentucky officials selected, as the test site for its terror-emergency procedures, the state's goat show in Erlanger. Said a state Homeland Security official, "We try to focus on what really matters to Kentucky."
In June, 13 Cuban refugees in a boat fashioned from a 1949 Mercury taxicab were intercepted by U.S. authorities about 20 miles from their destination of Key West, Fla. Based on current policy, the 13 will probably be returned to Cuba. However, in March, Cuban Luis Grass, and his wife and 5-year-old son, part of groups that had been turned back in two pontooned-car attempts, in 2003 (1951 Chevy truck) and 2004 (1959 Buick), sneaked across the U.S. border in Brownsville, Texas. Since they actually made it to American soil this time, they will probably be allowed to remain.
A sheriff's spokesman in Gastonia, N.C., said a local police officer, summoned to a hit-and-run scene, accidentally ran over the victim (though investigators later concluded that he was already dead) (June). In Fort Worth, Texas, an intoxicated woman involved in a collision got out of her car to investigate and was killed when a beer truck accidentally rammed one of the cars into her (and the truck driver, too, was found to be intoxicated) (January). In Brownsville, Texas, a 29-year-old man working at a silo accidentally fell in, quickly sank into the 20-foot pile of grain, and suffocated (April).
In May, Canada Post notified Christine Charbonneau in Orleans, Ontario, that its letter carriers would probably stop delivering directly to her house because its steps were each 30 cm high (about 12 inches), and regulations require Canada Post to climb steps no more than 20 cm high. Charbonneau said no one else has complained about the steps in the 17 years she has been there, including her now-77-year-old mother-in-law (who takes oxygen through a tube in her nose).
(Send your Weird News to Chuck Shepherd, P.O. Box 18737, Tampa FL 33679 or WeirdNews@earthlink.net or go to www.NewsoftheWeird.com.)