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News of the Weird


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In May Baron Trevor, 64, a member of the British House of Lords since 1950, took to the floor to make his very first speech to that body, saying that after 43 years he had finally found an issue "that affected the locality in which I live." He warned against the oversupervision of police officers.

Unclear on the Concept

In February Wellington, New Zealand, police commander Murray Jackson told reporters that construction of a new police station and lockup would be delayed because the building would be subject to the new local safety code, which would require that prisoners have immediate access to exits in case of fire. According to Jackson, that would require furnishing them with keys.

The Montana legislature passed an animal-abuse law in April that increased the penalty for a second conviction to two years in prison and a $1,000 fine. The state's maximum penalty for second-offense wife beating is six months and $500.

In April the Better Business Bureau in Anchorage, Alaska, said its bank accounts were short $225,000, and accused its former president, Susan E. Whittenton, of embezzlement.

The Ontario Council of Regents proposed in January that grade-ten high school students who are having trouble in school be directly sent on to college. The council said that Canada, in order to compete in the high-technology world, needs to increase the percentage of its high school graduates who go on to college and that unsuccessful grade-ten students tend to drop out.

To help a 43-year-old man in Ridley Township, Pennsylvania, who needed a liver transplant, friends held a fund-raising "beef and beer" dinner in March.

Actress Mariel Hemingway told McCall's magazine in March that she maintains a healthy life-style--no drugs, alcohol, dairy, meat, bread, sugar, or eggs, but lots of vegetables, grains, and homeopathic remedies. Furthermore, she said she had her large-size breast implants replaced with smaller ones.

For their annual meeting this year, dissident shareholders of Time Warner Inc. sought to force the company to hold a discussion of the rap songs of its artist Ice-T, particularly one song about rape. Time Warner management then argued to the Securities and Exchange Commission, which governs what information must be provided to shareholders, that even though the song itself was sold to the general public, the lyrics were "inappropriate" for distribution to shareholders.

Perversions on Parade

William K. Kessie, 42, was arrested in Cleveland in December and accused of making several telephone calls to women who work for churches in which he pretends to be a young girl who has been abducted and raped and who is asking for their help.

A man whose identity was not disclosed in news accounts was arrested in April in Kissimmee, Florida, and charged with misdemeanor lewdness after he tried to obtain the underwear of several police officers to add to his 400-item collection. Said a police detective, "This guy has a fetish for cops." Officers arrested him after they talked him into dropping by the station to chat. He was carrying samples of his collection along with videotapes of the TV show Cops.

The Denver Post reported in March that a gust of wind alerted police to stop and check out Ozell Brown, 46, of Commerce City, on the street. The wind had blown open his overcoat, under which he was nude except for pants legs that were fastened on with rubber bands.

The Weirdo-American Community

In early June U.S. Coast Guard seaman Joseph Loomis, 20, was charged in Newport News, Virginia, with causing an Amtrak derailment last August, and he is suspected in several other derailments dating back to 1990. As evidence against him, authorities produced photos of train stations from his locker and train schedules, one of which included the notations "D-R" (i.e., "derailed") and "Whoa, Nellie" beside the entry of the August train, whose derailment Loomis allegedly watched.

Least Competent Person

Lee Womble, 28, was arrested minutes after allegedly robbing the Lafayette Bank in Stratford, Connecticut, in April by police who happened to be nearby. But even if police hadn't found him so soon, they would have gotten him eventually because Womble had used a bank withdrawal slip that had his name on it in two places for the holdup note. Speculated police lieutenant Thomas Roadia, "He could have been nervous or something."

Undignified Deaths

In April a 47-year-old golfer, who had arranged his work schedule with the Social Security Administration so that he could get in 18 holes most days and who was the president of the Southern California Knights of Columbus Golf Association, was killed when he was struck in the head on a course by an errant golf ball.

In April a 61-year-old warehouse employee of the Golden Peanut Company, in Donalsonville, Georgia, was killed when he was crushed under an avalanche of peanuts.

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

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