In Raleigh, North Carolina, residents of The Dakota apartment complex are stepping out a little more confidently after management engaged the services of a company called PawzLife. The Raleigh News and Observer reported on March 22 that residents were growing disgusted with the amount of dog feces on the sidewalks and green spaces around the complex. So management turned to a high-tech solution: Residents who own dogs are required to bring them to a "pup party," where PawzLife collects their DNA with a simple saliva swipe and creates a "unique DNA profile" for each dog. The company then visits the neighborhood to pick up any stray poop, and owners whose dogs are a match with the poop DNA are fined $100 per offense. PawzLife owner Matthew Malec said, "We are just trying to make the Earth a little bit better to live on." [Raleigh News and Observer, 3/22/2019]
Nothing Better to Do ...
Traffic on a street in the Koreatown neighborhood of Los Angeles came to a virtual stop as two cars engaged in a legendary standoff over a parking space on April 1. Fox News reported that Mariah Flores, who was positioned across the street, documented the entire two-hour dispute on Twitter, as the "black car" and the "silver car" jockeyed to parallel park in one open spot along the sidewalk. As horns honked and tensions mounted, a "plot twist" changed the whole dynamic: The owner of a third vehicle, parked in front of the empty space, left, leaving room for both black and silver to park. The drivers quickly settled their vehicles in the spaces but then sat in their cars for some time. "Like are they afraid of each other or is it just awkward now?" Flores wondered. Finally, the driver of the silver car emerged, prompting Flores' comment, "SILVER takes the gold." [Fox News, 4/4/2019]
... and Too Much Money to Do It With
A wealthy San Francisco philanthropist, Florence Fang, 84, is being sued by the city of Hillsborough over the "Flintstones" home and grounds she has created in the suburb. The oddly shaped house was built in 1976, and Fang bought it in 2017. Today it's painted purple and red, features a large "Yabba Dabba Do" sign near the driveway, and Fang has added dinosaur and mushroom figurines, along with Fred Flintstone himself, to the yard. "We don't like it when people build things first, then come in and demand or ask for permission later," huffed Assistant City Attorney Mark Hudak, who told KTVU Fang built without the proper permits and the property is subject to code violations along with offending the neighbors' aesthetic sensibilities. But Angela Alioto, Fang's attorney, said the home is Fang's "happy place." Fang doesn't live in the home but uses it for entertainment and charitable events. "She's had an incredible life, and I think it's wonderful that, at 84 years old, she has found something that makes her so happy," Alioto told the San Mateo Daily Journal. [KTVU, 3/18/2019] [San Mateo Daily Journal, 4/2/2019]
People Different From Us
Kaz James, 37, from Salford, Greater Manchester, England, has known since he was a child that he was different from other people. "I didn't ever feel like a human. I always felt like a dog that was really out of place," James told Metro News. He first started to understand his peculiarity when he gained access to the internet at 17 years old. "I was known by my friends for ... grabbing hold of the collar of their shirt in my teeth and biting or licking them, very canine-type behaviors," James said. Today he eats out of a dog bowl and owns three custom-made dog suits -- one a $2,600 fur suit shipped from Canada. "(M)y behaviors were quite dog-like in childhood, probably from the age of 6," he said. "No one ever talked about it. It was never mentioned." [Metro News, 4/3/2019]
The Carter County (Tennessee) Sheriff's Department had some strong leads in the death of Edith Betty Ralph, 75, on April 6, but none stronger than the behavior of John Christopher Ralph, 51, Edith's son, who had been living with her and had repeatedly complained to friends and family that she was "driving him crazy." "The night of Mrs. Ralph's murder, John asked co-workers to take pictures of him at work saying that if anything happened to his mother he would need an alibi," according to the sheriff's department. ABC News reported that Edith was found deceased due to severe head trauma and several gunshot wounds. John was stopped at Atlanta's Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport, ready to board a flight for Amsterdam. He was held on a $1 million bond. [ABC News, 4/7/2019]
-- When you purchase a new home, you need new stuff to put in it. So it was for Andrew Francis Lippi, 59, of Key Haven, Florida. Lippi purchased an $8 million private island, Thompson Island, off Key West in early April, which includes a large estate previously owned by philanthropist Edward B. Knight. But on April 6, Lippi was charged with felony grand theft for stealing $300 worth of home goods from Kmart, including two coffeemakers, eight lightbulbs and a bed skirt. His method was clever: He bought the items, then returned their boxes with other things packed inside, according to the Miami Herald. (For example, a basketball was in the Keurig box.) Lippi, speaking to the Herald, denied the charges and said, "Basically it has to do with a commercial dispute. ... It's very complicated and I'd rather not get into it." He's scheduled to appear in court on April 18. [Miami Herald, 4/8/2019]
-- Lauren Jenai, 47, co-founder (with her ex-husband) of CrossFit, has struck up a new romance with an old flame: Franklin Tyrone Tucker, also 47, who resides at the Stock Island Detention Center in Florida, where he awaits trial for first-degree murder and armed robbery. Jenai sold her CrossFit shares for $20 million after her divorce and now lives in Portland, Oregon. She and Tucker, childhood friends, reconnected on Facebook before Tucker's arrest, and she has risen to his defense, offering to put up his $1 million bond (which was denied in January) and hiring private investigators for his case. She has not been able to see Tucker in person, but they were enjoying video visitation -- until, by Jenai's admission, she "got a little risque ... I was touching my boobs." Her account was suspended, so she began using her mother's account, but it happened again: "My boobs popped out at some point, it happens." Tucker and Jenai are scheduled to wed in prison, and she told the Daily Mail she won't ask him to sign a prenup: It feels "a little inappropriate. ... I trust him. I love him. My house is his house." [Daily Mail, 4/9/2019]
What's in a Name?
The Smuggler's Inn on Canada View Drive in Blaine, Washington, sits just a stone's throw from the Canadian border. Fittingly, on April 4, a Canadian court charged its owner, Robert Joseph Boule, 69, with 21 counts of "inducing, aiding or abetting" seven people who tried to illegally enter Canada between May 2018 and March 2019. Boule had remarked to CBC News in the past that it wasn't unusual to see people with night-vision goggles sneaking across the border at night. He remains in custody in Canada. [CBC News, 4/9/2019]