Newsquirks | Syndicated Columns | Salt Lake City | Salt Lake City Weekly


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Police in Levittown, N.Y., said that Frank Traina, 36, walked into a Chinese restaurant, pointed a handgun at the owner and demanded cash. When the victim noticed water dripping from the gun barrel, he realized it was a water pistol, which Traina apparently had filled before the robbery attempt. He fled but was apprehended.

Authorities in Harrison County, Ohio, said that Michael Chapman, 54, stole a car whose owner had left it running in her driveway, but after going about three miles, he needed directions to a nearby town. He stopped at the first home he came to, owned by Thomas Eltringham. After Chapman drove off, Eltringham recognized the gold 2001 Buick LeSabre as his daughter’s and alerted the sheriff’s office. A patrol officer spotted the car, chased it and arrested Chapman.

God’s Will

Convicted sex offender Scott Smith asked a judge in Leon, Iowa, to exempt him from wearing an electronic monitor while he’s on probation because electricity is evil. Smith belongs to the Brotherhood of Christ, whose leader, Ron Livingston, testified that the group believes electricity causes people to disobey God.

Hint: Move

After a 35-year-old man was shot at an apartment complex in Poughkeepsie, N.Y., the Poughkeepsie Journal reported that the victim had been shot three other times at the same apartment complex in the past six years.

Hint: Quit

Dr. Robert Guild, 71, complained that Washington state’s new anti-smoking law is forcing elderly smokers to take unnecessary risks. Guild, who is retired and lives at the Maplewood Gardens Retirement Apartments in Spokane, told the Spokesman-Review that the ban on indoor smoking is forcing him and other smokers there, some using wheelchairs and walkers, to brave ice and snow to get to a structure that is far enough away from the facility to meet the ban’s requirements “There’s overhead heating, but it’s very inconvenient, and there are no facilities,” Guild said, noting that restrooms are important for folks his age.

Hint: Pay Attention

In-car satellite navigation systems are causing British motorists to lose concentration while driving, according to a survey by Privilege Insurance. It concluded that the new technology could be even more distracting than trying to read a map while driving. The survey found that one in 10 drivers with navigation systems sets off on trips without programming the intended route and more than half admitted taking their eyes off the road to input details while driving.


Rep. Vernon Ehlers, R-Mich., spearheaded an initiative to divert $2 million from the Navy’s operations budget to fund a study of “no flush” urinals. The money would go to Falcon Waterfree Technologies, which is located in Ehlers’s Grand Rapids district, although reporter Megan Scully of Congress Daily said that Ehlers assured her the measure had not specified the money go to Falcon when she interviewed him “outside the men’s restroom near the House floor.

Ed Danis, 84, was suspended from his job as a school crossing guard in Orland Park, Ill., after his picture appeared in a front-page newspaper article about urine therapy. Danis, who was pictured wearing his crossing guard uniform complete with official police insignia, said that he has been in perfect health since he started drinking 18 ounces of his own urine daily about 12 years ago. Orland Park Police Chief Tim McCarthy, whose department oversees crossing guards, noted that Danis had been warned in writing twice before not to espouse his beliefs while on duty or in uniform, insisting, “It has nothing to do with urine therapy.

Police who arrested Alan Patton, 54, outside a movie theater in Gahanna, Ohio, said he admitted that he enjoys drinking urine. “He told us he’s been doing it over 40 years, since he was 7 years old,” Detective Ron Fithen said. Investigators explained that Patton goes to family restaurants and movie theaters and waits in a bathroom stall. He shuts off the water to the child-level urinals and puts a cup in the bottom, then, after the child leaves, “he goes back and retrieves the cup and drinks the urine,” Fithen said. Patton indicated that it makes him sick, but he explained that drinking the boys’ urine is almost spiritual to him, “like I’m drinking their youth.

Second-Amendment Follies

After a gun discharged when a woman in line dropped her purse at a Dairy Queen in St. Louis County, Mo., the woman picked up the shredded sequined purse near her feet and rushed out with her teenage daughter, proclaiming to witnesses, “I ain’t got no gun.” Store manager Shelley White gave the fleeing woman’s license number to police. They tracked down the woman, who turned out to be an off-duty St. Louis police officer. She admitted having a gun and resigned from the force.

George Arthur Sikkenga, 64, was wounded while hunting, according to Michigan State Police, when his companion mistook his elbow for a squirrel. The Muskegon Chronicle reported that Sikkenga was wearing camouflage clothing except for an orange hat, which he covered with a hood after sitting down behind a tree. His clothed elbow was all of him that was visible when his friend, Gregory Scott Wood, approached from behind the tree and fired his rifle.

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

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