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News Quirks

Size Matters

By Roland Sweet
Posted // September 23,2009 -

Curses, Foiled Again
When Jarrell Paul Arnold, 34, walked into a credit union in Anchorage, Alaska, and inquired about his account balance, the teller asked for his name, account number and photo identification. After complying, he showed the teller a note that read, “I have a gun. Give me all the money in your drawer.” The Anchorage Daily News reported the robber stuffed the cash in his jacket and took off, only to be promptly arrested.

• Robbery suspect Thomas James, 24, died after he spraypainted his face to conceal his identity, according to sheriff’s deputies in Richland County, S.C.

Size Matters
The Port of Seattle will have to pay about $1 million extra for its new cargo terminal because the trench dug to hold the electrical cable for cranes that lift containers from ships was too narrow for the cable. “Clearly, the contractor should’ve built the trench at 2.52 inches, and it’s 2.5,” Port Commission President Bill Bryant told the Seattle Times. A bigger trench would’ve cost $500,000, so the Port decided to order a smaller 2-inch cable from Italy that costs $200,000. It’s also liable for a $1 million rent credit for the tenant whose use of the cable was delayed.

When Guns Are Outlawed
Police in Elyria, Ohio, arrested Thomas B. Heffner, 49, and his 18-year-old son, Thomas W., for fighting with swords. “Heffner Jr. stated that he believes he was being treated unfairly and started to argue,” the police report said. Amy Heffner explained that when the argument intensified, her husband and son grabbed swords off the wall and continued to swing them at each other until the police arrived.

Keystone Kops
Six motorcycle cops crashed into one another while escorting the family of one of the country’s largest Harley-Davidson dealers to his funeral in Ormand Beach, Fla. A Florida Highway Patrol official told the Daytona Beach News-Journal the lead rider slowed down, but the riders near the back of the group didn’t, causing the chain-reaction crash.

Hunt & Peckers
New York City signed a $982,269 contract with a new Jersey company to buy thousands of new manual and electric typewriters over the next three years and a $99,570 maintenance contract with a Manhattan firm to service existing typewriters. The New York Post reported most of the money was for the New York Police Department, which still uses typewriters to fill out property and evidence vouchers printed on carbon-paper forms. The reliance on typewriters contributes to the slow pace of processing arrests, according to Edith Linn, a retired NYPD officer and professor of criminal justice at Manhattan’s Berkeley College. Of the roughly 500 NYPD officers Linn interviewed for her 2008 book “Arrest Decisions,” many cited the outdated equipment as a reason for their reluctance to make arrests for less serious crimes.

Horns of a Dilemma
Marijuana may protect the brain from the harmful effects of binge drinking, according to researchers at the University of California San Diego. They performed brain scans on 16- to 19-year-olds in three groups: binge drinkers, binge drinkers who also smoke pot and those with very little drug or drinking experience. The study, reported in the journal Neurotoxicology and Teratology, found that subjects who drank and smoke showed less brain damage than binge drinkers and only slightly more brain damage than the control group.

The Nose Knows
Honolulu city councilors introduced a bill that would make it illegal for bus riders to have “odors that unreasonably disturb others or interfere with their use of the transit system.” Passengers convicted of body odor would face a $500 fine and up to six months in jail.

Compiled from the nation’s press by Roland Sweet. Authentication on demand. Submit items, citing date and source, to P.O. Box 8130, Alexandria VA 22306.

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