by Roland Sweet
Curses, Foiled Again
Sheriff’s deputies investigating a convenience-store robbery in Niceville, Fla., arrested suspect Zachariah Dalton Howard, 22, after they spotted him at a nearby supermarket calling his mother for a ride home. (South Florida Sun-Sentinel)
Police searching for thieves who broke into a home in Gaithersburg, Md., and then stole the homeowners’ car for their getaway, spotted the vehicle at a nearby convenience store. The suspects were there because one of them, Marcus Lee, 20, stopped to use the bathroom, where he spent 11 minutes. “That 11-minute period is when the police come,” prosecutor Stephen Chaikin explained after Lee pleaded guilty. (The Washington Post)
Mensa Rejects of the Week
Two 24-year-old men were badly injured after an oil storage tank exploded at a Texas facility while the victims were sitting on top of it smoking at 3 a.m. Van Zandt County Emergency Management Coordinator Chuck Allen said both victims were hospitalized, one on life support. The blaze destroyed three of the facility’s six oil storage tanks and damaged the other three. (Associated Press)
Washington state lawmakers are considering a proposal to allow private bidders to pay for the right to name publicly owned facilities, from government buildings to schools. “I’m trying to think out of the box and come up with some revenue for our local folks and for our state that isn’t another dollar out of taxpayers’ wallets,” state Rep. Jan Angel, who introduced the plan, said. “Nothing ventured, nothing gained.”
Naming rights are already common for sports venues, such as Sleep Train Arena in Sacramento, Calif., and Cleveland’s Quicken Loans Arena. And other states have approved similar measures. Virginia lawmakers, for example, last year okay’d selling naming rights to bridges and roads. Virginia also signed a $2 million-a-year deal granting GEICO exclusive naming rights to its 43 rest areas. In New York City, the British bank Barclays is paying $200,000 a year for the naming rights to a Brooklyn subway station.
Angel’s plan would continue letting governments name memorials after notable people for free. It also bans obscene or offensive names, as well as the names of tobacco or cannabis companies. (Associated Press)
Bark Worse Than Bite
Hoping to thwart illegal logging in the Amazon, Brazil began fitting trees with wireless tracking devices that alert authorities when they are cut down and moved. The device, called Invisible Tracck, is the size of a deck of cards and powered by a battery that lasts a year. Coming within 20 miles of a cellular network activates its signal. (Mongabay.com)
A 16-year-old girl in Monticello, Ind., drove 60 miles in a pickup truck to beat up a 17-year-old girl in LaPorte, Ind., who she said spread rumors about her on Facebook. The victim’s mother pulled the girls apart, and the Monticello girl left, but police arrested her later when they saw her return to the scene. (Associated Press)
Police accused Timothy Tucker and Shequita Cade of contributing to the delinquency of a minor after a YouTube video showed them driving their middle-school daughter to fight with a 14-year-old girl at a school bus stop in Tucker, Ga. Taylor can be heard on the video encouraging his daughter to hit the victim while the two struggled on the ground and shouting at witnesses, “Nobody better try to jump in neither.” (Atlanta’s WSB-TV)
When Guns Are Outlawed
Police arrested Tammie Elaine Johnson, 49, who they said attacked a 44-year-old man in a parking lot in Athens, Ga., with a jar of olives. The arresting officer reported the victim, who was found bleeding from a cut near his eye, explained that they were arguing “because Tammie wanted to be with him, but he was not interested in her.” (Athens Banner-Herald)
What Are the Odds?
While on a trip around the world, New Zealand attorney Jacob Marx, 27, was killed in England after high winds ripped off a 30-foot metal sign on a London betting shop, and it fell on him. (London Evening Standard)
Mexican-born Mirna Valenzuela won a $1,200 jackpot at Casino del Sol Resort in Tucson, Ariz., but when she tried to collect her winnings, casino officials called police because they thought her identification looked suspicious. Police determined the ID was legitimate but also discovered Valenzuela was in the country illegally. After she was deported, casino CEO Wendell Long said Valenzuela’s winnings are being held at the casino and that she can claim them anytime she shows up in person. (Phoenix’s The Arizona Republic)
Albanian-born actor Praq Rado, 31, was traveling by train to New York’s Hamptons International Film Festival because a film about his immigration journey, titled Dreaming American, had been chosen for screening. Rado escaped from Albania, entered America without papers and struggled to find work without a Social Security number before becoming an actor. Federal immigration agents, who’d been looking for Rado since he was ordered deported in 2007, arrested him aboard the train. (Easthampton Patch)
A month after the Social Security Administration reprimanded an employee for creating a “hostile work environment” by regularly passing gas at his office, the agency withdrew the action. Its Office of Disability Operations, which issued the reprimand to a 38-year-old man working at an agency office in Baltimore, had cited 60 documented instances of the worker passing gas in his office over a 12-week period, sometimes as often as nine times a day, according to a log the man’s supervisor kept to record his offenses. Even though the man provided proof that his condition was medical, his supervisor noted, “Nothing that you have submitted has indicated you would have uncontrollable flatulence. It is my belief that you can control this condition.” (The Washington Post)
Saving the Twitterverse
Since the Library of Congress began archiving Twitter messages in 2010, it has amassed more than 170 billion tweets. Library Director of Communications Gayle Osterberg said the volume of tweets it receives from Twitter has grown from 140 million a day last February to nearly half a billion a day in late 2012. The library is exploring ways to make its massive archive available to researchers. (Associated Press)
Compiled from mainstream news sources by Roland Sweet.