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News of the Weird

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Lead Story

In September the town council of Avon, Colorado, held a contest to name the new bridge over the Eagle River linking I-70 with U.S. highway 6. After sifting through 84 suggestions (such as "Eagle Crossing"), the council voted 4-2 to give it the official name "Bob."

Chutzpah

Pasadena, California, lawyer Raymond Newman, who represents indigent criminal defendants, was indicted in April on charges that he defrauded the county by billing $1.3 million in legal fees over three years for work largely not done. Among the charges: he billed 25 hours during time he was in jail on drunk-driving charges, and he billed for work on each of the 366 days of 1988 despite grand jury testimony that he was on vacation or out of town on other business during many of those days. In October Newman demanded a court-appointed lawyer to represent him, claiming indigence himself.

In October Bill Tilney, the mayor of El Paso, Texas, presented residents in the northeast part of the city with the award for having the best neighborhood crime watch, citing the area's four years of no crime--except for a drug-related double murder two weeks before the ceremony.

John Riley, until August the head of the Minnesota Department of Transportation, admitted in September that he had been driving without a driver's license all year. He said he didn't have time to get one, even though there was a licensing office downstairs in the building where he worked. In September Riley also became chief of staff to the governor.

People With Too Much Time on Their Hands

In September in Asheville, North Carolina, Shannon Marie Fogle, 22, a former Clemson University baton-twirling star and the current Miss Asheville, was arrested for DUI with a blood alcohol level of 0.21. According to her mother, Fogle had seen her replacement perform at Clemson that afternoon, and that evening "the realization hit her" that she was no longer a star twirler. "It was overwhelming," the mother said.

A University of Denver marital-studies center reported last summer that cities with major-league baseball franchises have a divorce rate 25 percent lower than cities without. The center's director said he was not certain what the results signified.

University of Oklahoma law school adjunct professor Annette Prince, apparently to show support for her colleague Anita Hill, stood on her desk during an October lecture and stripped down to her T-shirt, which read "Anita Hill Plus Will Rogers Equals Okie Pride."

Willie Bosket, called by some the most violent inmate in the New York state prison system, was denied a request in October for six pairs of "fluffy slippers" that cost $26 a pair. (Bosket once killed two people "for fun" and in 1988 killed a guard.)

In Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, in September, two children of exhibitionist strongman Subas Bohs pulled heavy objects to entertain at a benefit for handicapped children. Bohs's son, age six, pulled a car with four children inside it ten feet by a rope between his teeth, and Bohs's daughter, seven, pulled the same car five feet by a rope tied to her hair.

The ten-store chain Whole Foods Market has set up "massage stations" at its checkout counters for those stressed out by the organic-food shopping experience. In stores in Austin, Dallas, Houston, Berkeley, and Palo Alto, customers can get ten minutes of relief for $7.

Creme de la Weird

University of Tennessee football player Tom Myslinski attracted press attention this fall with his pregame ritual: listening to heavy-metal music while banging his unhelmeted head "hard" against a shower-room wall, followed by vomiting in the locker room. "I don't know why I do it," said Myslinski. "It's really stupid when you think about it."

Least Competent Person

Larry Schweinfurt, 31, was arrested for robbing a cab driver in San Francisco in November. He had held a cleaver to the driver's neck, grabbed his money, and flung the rear door open to get away. But according to police, the door then struck a parking meter and sprang back toward Schweinfurt, hitting him in the head and knocking him out.

The Diminishing Value of Life

Chris Blair, 14, pleaded guilty in November to shooting his mother to death in Coquille, Oregon, because she would not give him the car keys so that he and his friends could drive to California. The four friends said they watched from the backyard as Blair grabbed the gun and paced back and forth, finally summoning the resolve to do it.

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): illustration/Shawn Belschwender.

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